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Lukashenko's visit showed Russia, Belarus, China see eye to eye on Ukraine — expert

As Dmitry Suslov said, the West looks obviously annoyed

MOSCOW, March 1. /TASS/. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s visit to Beijing showed the similarity of positions Russia, Belarus and China take on the Ukrainian settlement, the Deputy Director of the HSE Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies, Dmitry Suslov, a Valdai Club expert, told TASS on Wednesday.

Earlier, the Chinese Foreign Ministry published a position paper on the political settlement of the crisis in Ukraine. It consists of 12 points, including calls for a ceasefire, respect for the legitimate interests of all countries in the field of security, settlement of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, the exchange of prisoners of war between Moscow and Kiev, as well as the avoidance of unilateral sanctions without a corresponding decision of the UN Security Council. China described a dialogue and negotiations as "the only way of resolving the crisis in Ukraine" and called on all parties to support Moscow and Kiev in "moving towards each other", as well as in the early resumption of a direct dialogue.

"Central to the visit, I think, was China's ability to promote a different position and other conditions for resolving the conflict in Ukraine than those the West insists on," Suslov said. "Both Belarus and China disagree with the West's demand that Russia should withdraw its troops as a precondition for a peace settlement," Suslov said. The expert stressed that Russia, China and Belarus see "eye to eye" on this issue.

The West looks obviously annoyed, Suslov remarks.

"The crackdown on China and the accusations that it might allegedly provide military assistance to Russia stem precisely from the West's attempt to discredit China's role as the author of this alternative conflict settlement project," he explained.

At the same time, Suslov pointed to a certain distinction of Russia’s position on Ukraine.

"Russia believes that today there is no opportunity for negotiations, but not because it does not want them, but because Ukraine’s President Vladimir Zelensky does not want them. The collective West does not want them, either, and insists on the preliminary withdrawal of Russian troops," the expert said.

In general, the strengthening and promotion of the Chinese initiative for a diplomatic settlement in Ukraine without the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory that Russia considers its own is in the interests of Moscow, Suslov concluded.

Other topics

Among other crucial issues on the agenda of Lukashenko's visit to China were Belarusian-Chinese relations, the role of China in the post-Soviet space and in Eurasia, as well as Chinese investment and infrastructure projects. All this, Suslov said, affects not only the interests of Belarus, but also Russia. "The project of pairing, for example, the Eurasian Economic Union and the Chinese Belt and Road initiative is still on the agenda," Suslov explained.

He speculated that Lukashenko's visit to China might have been coordinated with Russia to an extent.