PARIS, February 7. /TASS/. China remains neutral in regards to the conflict in Ukraine, but it understands Russia’s concerns over NATO’s eastward expansion and the plans to include Ukraine in the alliance, which have become the premise for the current conflict, Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye said on the LCI TV channel Monday.
"NATO has been posing a threat to Russia’s security for decades, [...] the five rounds of NATO’s eastward expansion pose a significant threat for Russia’s security. This is what [Russian] President Vladimir Putin is talking about; he strongly opposes the inclusion of a number of neighboring states to NATO, including Ukraine," Lu Shaye said, answering a question about the reasons behind the current conflict in Ukraine.
"You believe that the NATO expansion does not carry a threat for Russia, but, when [Soviet leader Nikita] Khruschev decided to deploy nuclear weapons on Cuba, what was [US President John] Kennedy’s reaction?" he continued. When the host noted that, prior to the special military operation, there allegedly were no plans to include Ukraine to the alliance and to deploy NATO missiles on its territory, the diplomat noted that this could happen in the future.
"If NATO pushes its borders to Russia’s threshold, it will also deploy missiles," he noted.
The Chinese envoy opined that the actions of the West do not contribute to a prompt end of the Ukrainian conflict.
"China remains neutral in this crisis, but we believe that constant shipments of increasingly heavy weapons to one side of the conflict do not contribute to its prompt end. It is like pouring oil to the flame," he said. Answering corresponding allegations from the host, the diplomat assured that Beijing does not ship weapons to Russia and "does nothing against peaceful settlement of the conflict."
"Several months ago, European countries refused to ship tanks to Ukraine, and now they do. Today, they refuse to ship warplanes, but, maybe, in several months, they will ship them," he noted. "Maybe, one day, NATO member states will wonder if they are a side to the conflict.".