Mon Feb 9, 2015 11:2AM
China has voiced its opposition to US plans to supply Ukraine with arms, saying people in the country’s restive east are at the moment in “more need of peace” rather than lethal arms.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Monday that Beijing is against Washington’s plans to provide the western-backed government in Kiev with weapons, calling instead for a political solution to the conflict.
Beijing “calls for the political settlement of the crisis in Ukraine as this meets the interests of all the sides,” said Chunying, adding, “People in eastern Ukraine now are more in need of peace rather than weapons.”
Chunying continued by saying Beijing urges all sides in the conflict between Kiev government troops and pro-Russian forces “to refrain from any actions that could lead to an increase in confrontation or affect the negotiation process.”
The Chinese official stressed that her country would “continue playing a constructive role in the political settlement of the crisis in Ukraine.”
China is the latest of several countries that have voiced opposition to the US plans.
The comments come amid reports that a group of US senators, including Chairman of US Senate Committee on Armed Services John McCain, have urged President Barack Obama’s administration to supply Kiev with lethal arms.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized on Sunday the US plans, saying such measures “could have unpredictable consequences and risk undermining the efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in the South-East of the country.”
On February 7, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the 51st Munich Security Conference, “the progress that Ukraine needs cannot be achieved by more weapons.”
The two mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence protests there in mid-April 2014. More than 5,400 people have been killed in the clashes.