On Saturday a high-ranking Chinese government official lashed out at the West's sanctions regimen against Russia in the wake of the Ukraine invasion, blasting the far-reaching punitive measures which have also served to severely isolate Moscow as increasingly "outrageous".
"The sanctions against Russia are getting more and more outrageous," Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng told a security forum in Beijing, according to Reuters.
Strongly suggesting the sanctions would only serve to harm common Russian citizens, he described that the West depriving the people of their overseas assets were ultimately "for no reason".
"History has proven time and again that sanctions cannot solve problems. Sanctions will only harm ordinary people, impact the economic and financial system... and worsen the global economy."
He further hinted that US and EU sanctions would in the end only escalate the situation, as Reuters continues, he...
acknowledged Moscow’s point of view on NATO, saying the alliance should not further expand eastwards, forcing a nuclear power like Russia "into a corner".
The unusually blunt Chinese reaction (given Beijing has appeared somewhat reluctant to weigh in too forcefully behind either side thus far, other than calling out NATO expansion) to the ratcheting Ukraine crisis comes the same day that Ukrainian President Zelensky's office publicly urged Beijing to come out and condemn "Russian barbarism" in a public statement.
In a Twitter statement presidential aide Mikhailo Podolyak asserted "China can be the global security system’s important element if it makes a right decision to support the civilized countries’ coalition and condemn Russian barbarism."
🇨🇳 can be the global security system’s important element if it makes a right decision to support the civilized countries’ coalition & condemn 🇷🇺 barbarism. It is a chance to sit at the table as equals. The West must explain to Beijing how $1.6 trillion differs from $150 billion— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) March 19, 2022
It seems the implication behind the Chinese vice foreign minister's fresh remarks might also be that if Russia is feeling pushed into a corner ...so is Beijing - given that the past week has seen the Biden administration bring China's growing cooperation with Russian into its crosshairs, with Biden warning his counterpart Xi Jinping in a Friday call that serious "consequences" follow if Beijing is found to be supplying Moscow with military equipment to aid its operations in Ukraine.
As on Chinese state TV pundit has put it...
Can you help me fight your friend so that I can concentrate on fighting you later?— CGTN LIU Xin 刘欣 (@LiuXininBeijing) March 19, 2022
Jake Sullivan has also this week warned against any possible Chinese help given to Russia for sanctions evasion. China has notably failed thus far to even use the words "invasion", instead opting for vaguer words like "crisis" - even as the assault on Ukraine enters its fourth week.