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China calls for end of sanctions against Russia, cease-fire in Ukraine

Dai Bing, China's deputy U.N. ambassador, addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Feb. 23. (Bebeto Matthews/AP)
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China on Friday called for a cease-fire in Ukraine and an end to unilateral sanctions and other economic “weapons” targeting Russia, as part of a new diplomatic push to defend Beijing’s position on the war.

The 12-point proposal about how to end the conflict was issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion and mostly rehashed long-standing positions — and was dismissed out of hand by Ukraine. But it reflects a newly proactive stance as Chinese diplomats try to show that they are working toward a political settlement and rebuff concern that they may soon provide direct support for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war effort.

A year later, China blames U.S. ‘hegemony’ — not Russia — for war in Ukraine

The document reflected China’s belief that the United States and European allies need to ease pressure on Russia to “prevent the crisis from deteriorating further” and create conditions for negotiations to resume.

“All parties should support Russia and Ukraine in working in the same direction and resuming direct dialogue as quickly as possible, so as to gradually de-escalate the situation and ultimately reach a comprehensive cease-fire,” the proposal said.

“Relevant countries should stop abusing unilateral sanctions and ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ against other countries,” the Foreign Ministry said, adding that all parties should “oppose using the world economy as a tool or weapon for political purposes.”

Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Ukraine’s presidency, dismissed the proposal and tweeted that “any ‘peace plan’ with cease-fire only … and continued occupation of territory isn’t about peace, but about freezing the war, defeat, next stages of genocide.” He reiterated the Ukrainian position that Russian forces should withdraw to the 1991 borders.

The Chinese proposal also warned against attacks on nuclear power plants and civilians, as well as repeating its opposition to the threat or use of nuclear weapons.

China was among the 32 countries that abstained from a U.N. vote Thursday that called for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops and an end to the conflict.

War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Tensions remained high after a rare series of drone attacks in Moscow damaged buildings on Tuesday. It is a rare attack deep inside Russian territory. Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed without providing evidence that Ukraine was behind the drone strikes. Kyiv denied involvement.

The strikes came after Russia conducted another aerial attack on Kyiv, killing at least one person and wounding at least four people. The air raid was the 17th attack in May, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

The fight: Russia took control of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, where thousands of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers died in the war’s longest and bloodiest battle, in late May. But holding the city will be difficult. The Wagner Group, responsible for the fight and victory in Bakhmut, is allegedly leaving and being replaced by the Russian army.

The upcoming counteroffensive: After a rainy few months left the ground muddy, sticky and unsuitable for heavy vehicles in southern Ukraine, temperatures are rising — and with them, the expectations of a long-awaited counteroffensive against occupying Russian forces.

The frontline: The Washington Post has mapped out the 600-mile front line between Ukrainian and Russian forces.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the United States can support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

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