China's Foreign Ministry denied any plans to provide lethal aid to Moscow for use in the Ukrainian war, and blamed the United States and NATO for spreading what it called false information about China's involvement on Feb. 22, reports CNN.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin added that NATO should “stop smearing China with unfounded speculations on Ukraine, abandon the old Cold War mentality of zero-sum game and bloc confrontation, and stop fomenting confrontation.”
This comes as China's top diplomat Wang Yi was pictured meeting with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Feb. 22.
The Wall Street Journal also reported on Feb. 21 that Chinese leader Xi Jinping is planning to visit Moscow for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the coming months.
Sources from the Wall Street Journal stated that Xi's upcoming meeting with Putin is part of a larger effort to promote multilateral peace talks and that Beijing aims to increase its involvement in resolving the conflict in Ukraine.
President Volodymyr Zelensky voiced his opinion on China's proposed peace plan during a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Feb. 21.
"It seems to me that our document, our peace formula, which has already been backed by a large number of states, and we expect further support for it... I think it is important to have one position," Zelensky said
The 10-point peace plan, which Zelensky introduced at a G20 summit meeting in November 2022, includes the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory, the establishment of a tribunal for Russian war crimes, the release of all prisoners and forcibly relocated people, and the prevention of ecocide.
The Chinese government has avoided explicitly criticizing Russia for the full-scale invasion, declaring, "It is the U.S., not China, that has been pouring weapons into the battlefield in Ukraine. The U.S. is in no position to tell China what to do. China will never accept US finger-pointing or coercion on China-Russia relations."
U.S. officials remain concerned that China will decide to supply Russia with lethal aid, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield called it "a red line" in an interview with CNN on Feb. 19.