China In First Response To Bucha Killings Tells West "Avoid Unfounded Accusations"
Multiple days following Kiev alleging mass killings of civilians committed by Russian forces in the Ukrainian town of Bucha which has been driving headlines in the West, China has weighed in for the first time, also as the EU and US ratchet sanctions on Moscow over what they say are clear war crimes.
China's ambassador to the United Nations Ambassador Zhang Jun said on Tuesday that the reports and images coming out of Bucha are "very disturbing", but stressed that any accusations against Russian forces must be independently verified and based firmly in facts.
"Attacks against civilians are unacceptable and should not occur," the ambassador said. "The reports and images of civilian deaths in Bucha are deeply disturbing."
But he added a key caveat while stopping short of condemning Moscow or Vladimir Putin, stressing that "circumstances and specific causes of the incident should be verified and established" and that "all sides should exercise restraint and avoid unfounded accusations."
And Reuters reported further his words as follows:
Speaking at a Security Council meeting, Ambassador Zhang Jun repeated Beijing's stance that sanctions are not effective in solving the Ukraine crisis but instead they accelerate the economic spillover. He also called the United States, NATO and the European Union to engage in a dialogue with Russia.
Chinese state-run media suggested what's widely being referred to as the 'Bucha massacre' in which at least 300 civilians died is a manufactured event meant to paint Russia into a corner. "An editorial in Global Times, the nationalist tabloid affiliated with party mouthpiece People’s Daily, said the incident should not be used as a pretext for inflaming the situation," SCMP notes.
Meanwhile the European Union has implied that Beijing is being tone deaf on the Ukraine issue, with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell characterizing the latest EU summit with Xi Jinping as a "deaf dialogue".
"China wanted to set aside our difference on Ukraine," he said of last week's virtual summit. "They didn't want to talk about Ukraine. They didn't want to talk about human rights and other issues, and instead focused on the positive things."
China's foreign ministry on Wednesday accused Washington of "fanning the flames" in Ukraine...
If the US earnestly hopes to help de-escalate the #Ukraine situation, it should stop fanning the flame, imposing sanctions or coercive words and deeds, Chinese FM spokesperson said on Wed. pic.twitter.com/nc8ocyuXbd— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) April 6, 2022
The clear allegation out of Brussels is that Beijing is showing little active interest in ending the war in Ukraine. Recently European leaders have been urging Beijing to intervene diplomatically to convince Putin to halt the invasion, which is now focused on securing Ukraine's eastern regions.