Pentagon hits China for blaming U.S., not Russia, for Ukraine invasion

Pentagon hits China for blaming U.S., not Russia, for Ukraine invasion

The Pentagon on Wednesday criticized the Chinese government for not joining Western sanctions on Russia and falsely blaming the invasion of Ukraine on the United States.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said public statements by Chinese government officials revealed tacit support for the Russian invasion.

China‘s Foreign Ministry spokesmen, he noted, in recent days has tried to moderate Beijing’s overt backing for the Russian military action by mentioning Ukrainian sovereignty.

“But we haven’t seen China join the list of countries that have enacted sanctions on Russia,” Mr. Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon.

Additionally, he said: “We haven’t seen the Chinese blame Mr. Putin for the violence he’s causing. Instead they have been blaming the United States, incredibly.”

Mr. Kirby said the Chinese have falsely asserted that American support for Ukraine precipitated the Russian attack.

The Chinese appear to be sending a mixed message about the Ukrainian crisis and who is to blame, he noted.

Mr. Kirby declined to comment on whether Chinese President Xi Jinping asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to delay the start of the Ukraine invasion until after the Beijing Olympic Games were over. The games ended Feb. 20 and the Russian invasion began four days later.

On Feb. 4, the start of the games, Mr. Putin was in Beijing and signed a new cooperation agreement with Mr. Xi

“We tried hard to prevent the war through diplomatic engagement,” Mr. Kirby said, adding that it should not have happened after the Olympics. “There was no reason it should have happened at all. It was unprovoked. Ukraine was never an aggressor.”

On Taiwan, Mr. Kirby declined comment on whether China is increasing aerial and naval intimidation of the island state since the Russian invasion. 

“I have nothing more operationally to talk to you today in terms of Taiwan specifically,” he said. “I would just say that nothing’s changed about our belief in the one China policy and in the freedom of navigation through the Taiwan Strait.”