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US using Ukraine conflict as pretext to impose sanctions – China

Washington is “extremely hypocritical” for arming Kiev while pushing for peace, Beijing’s foreign ministry has said

FILE PHOTO: Lin Jian, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, speaks to journalists at his agency’s daily briefing. ©  Johannes Neudecker / picture alliance via Getty Images

The US is using the Ukraine crisis as an opportunity to impose sanctions while continuing to pump Kiev with weapons, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian said on Thursday.

According to the Treasury Department, the latest measures target more than $100 million in trade between Russia and foreign partners suspected of enabling Moscow to evade Western embargoes.

The Chinese diplomat called Washington “extremely hypocritical and overbearing” for supplying Ukraine with weapons while pushing for peace.

“We urge the United States to immediately stop abusing illegal unilateral sanctions, and focus on ceasefires, stop wars, restore peace, and play a constructive role,” he said at a regular news briefing.

Beijing had previously accused the US and its allies, which together supply the bulk of Kiev’s military equipment, of hypocrisy, stating that Western powers should work on bringing Russia and Ukraine to the negotiation table, instead of “shifting the blame” onto for the continued hostilities.

READ MORE: Russia promises ‘decisive response’ to ‘confrontational’ US

Earlier this week, China said it remains firmly opposed to the sanctions, noting it would safeguard the rights and interests of its companies and citizens. Beijing has urged Washington to stop smearing China and “lift illegal unilateral sanctions” on its businesses.

Beijing has adhered to a policy of neutrality with regards to the Ukraine conflict, and has firmly rebuffed Western calls to impose sanctions on Russia, opting instead to boost trade with its neighbor. This has led to accusations from the UK and its NATO allies that Beijing is fueling Russia’s military effort by supplying it with dual-use components that can be utilized in weapons production.

Among the latest steps, the US Treasury said it was raising “the risk of secondary sanctions for foreign financial institutions that deal with Russia’s war economy,” effectively threatening them with losing access to the American financial system. 

The Chinese foreign ministry has repeatedly stressed that economic and trade cooperation between China and Russia “will not be disrupted by any third party.”

Annual trade between the bordering countries surpassed $240 billion last year, according to official data.

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