The White House is already condemning any possible China-brokered peace plan initiative related to Ukraine before it even gets off the ground. Following Beijing confirming on Friday that Chinese President Xi Jinping will travel to Moscow on Monday through Wednesday to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin, the Biden administration is expressing concern and alarm over a potentially ‘bad deal’ for Ukraine.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby warned that any unconditional ceasefire would only benefit Putin and his forces as this point. This after it’s also been revealed that Xi is expected to hold a phone call with Ukraine’s Zelensky related to China’s 12-point peace plan. “A cease-fire now is… effectively the ratification of Russian conquest,” Kirby said. “And of course, it would be another continued violation of the U.N. Charter.”
The US is worried that China’s diplomatic intervention and peace plan could result in significant territorial concessions:
White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said Friday that an unconditional cease-fire halting Russia’s offensive in Ukraine would legitimize Moscow’s hold on an estimated 17 percent of Ukrainian territory that was taken by force.
This is chiefly in the east, namely the Donbas region, where Russia has been making gains of late and is poised to take the strategic city of Bakhmut.
But Kirby’s preemptively and outright rejecting any possible ceasefire is at odds with prior repeat US statements that it is solely Zelensky’s decision to make. The White House has lately really promoted the idea that it is not in the background making decisions for Kyiv, but that it’s the Zelensky administration exercising its own sovereign choices concerning war strategy.
But in this instance of Washington trying to slam the door on Chinese-mediated peace, clearly it puts pressure on Zelensky to do the same.
The US may also be alarmed at how open Ukraine appears to be in dealing with China. The Hill notes of the latest positive interaction between China and Ukraine:
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday said he spoke with China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, where the two discussed “the significance of the principle of territorial integrity” and underscored the importance of Zelensky’s “Peace Formula” to end Russia’s war, which in part calls for Russia to withdraw its troops from all the territory it occupies in Ukraine.
But from the moment it was unveiled, the US alleged cynical motives behind Beijing’s peace efforts, despite Zelensky hinting he is open to deepened discussion with Chinese leadership.
The Biden administration’s massive support for Ukraine is not cost-free. One of the biggest geopolitical outcomes has been stronger ties between Russia and China not to mention Iran. https://t.co/nzIk89OGaX
— Max Abrahms (@MaxAbrahms) March 17, 2023
Kirby in his fresh remarks said that Moscow will use any possible ceasefire to solidify gains. Then Russian forces will “basically be free to use that ceasefire to further entrench its positions in Ukraine,” he stated.