Ukraine war news March 7: Oil soars on prospect of Russian crude ban, latest peace talks end without breakthrough

China has defended its “eternal friendship” with Russia and criticized the United States for trying to establish an “Indo-Pacific version of NATO”, thwarting international calls to condemn the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday reaffirmed an “unequivocal message to the world that China and Russia jointly oppose attempts to rekindle the Cold War mood.”

“No matter how precarious and difficult the international situation is, China and Russia will maintain their strategic orientation and steadily advance the coordination of their comprehensive strategic partnership for a new era,” he said.

The top Chinese diplomat’s comments came just days after Ukraine said Beijing had assured Kiev it would help stop the war, renewing focus on Beijing’s potential role in pressuring Russia for her to step back.

Since the start of the Russian invasion, China has abstained in two votes at the UN, including a Security Council resolution condemning the invasion and calling on Russia to withdraw its troops. Beijing has also criticized the international sanctions imposed to punish Putin

Wang, who was speaking at the National People’s Congress, the annual meeting of his rubber stamp parliament in Beijing, reiterated Beijing’s support for “dialogue” and “negotiations”, but did not specify the specific measures that China had taken.

He added that the Chinese Red Cross would provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine and said Beijing was organizing the evacuation of its nationals.

Wang said the United States was going to great lengths to engage in zero-sum competition with China, rejecting claims of a return to multilateralism by the United States under President Joe Biden.

“The real goal of US Indo-Pacific strategy is to establish an Indo-Pacific version of NATO,” he said, adding that China had “every right” to do whatever is necessary to defend its own interests.

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