Western leaders have been urged to show continued support for Ukraine, even in the event a counteroffensive by Ukraine expected in the next few weeks should fail to end the war, or China could “capitalise on the damage caused by Russia“. Dr Stepan Stepanenko, Head of British Friends of Ukraine, argued the only way to ensure Beijing and other authoritarian regimes across the world win their ideological war against Wester values, is to support a clear victory for Ukraine against Russia.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “A minor Ukrainian victory will be used as a tool by both Russia and China. Should this occur, the finger of blame should be pointed not at Ukraine but at its western allies who have dithered and delayed on delivering the tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery and aeroplanes that Ukraine has been asking for for over a year now.
“Failure to secure a considerable victory for Ukraine will be used by China for their diplomatic and other advantages.
“We have seen time and again from China, Russia and Iran. They like to test the red lines imposed on them by the West. In the case of Iran this can be said about the arms deliveries to Russia and the attitude Iran has taken towards Israel through support of its proxy organisations such as Hezbollah, disregard for the calls to seize the Iranian nuclear program, at the endless rhetoric of destroying the Jewish state.
“Talking about Russia, we cannot forget the start of the large-scale elevation of Ukraine, which Russia was warned against, as well as the rocket that may or may not have originated from Russia and fell in Poland.”
He continued: “Talking about China, these red lines are Taiwan, but also the support that China has given to Russia by propping up the Russian economy and the potential plans or realised plans of arms deliveries to Russia.
“China has already activated its large diplomatic network to negotiate on behalf of its minor allies. China has spoken for Iran, securing the Saudi Arabian Iranian agreement, we see Chinese attempts to enter into negotiations with Israel with regards to Iran and the Iranian proxies in the middle East, and of course we see endless moves by China to negotiate peace between Ukraine and Russia on the terms that favour the Russians.
“While Ukraine stands strong in the face of the Chinese push for a ceasefire that would result in the loss of Ukrainian land and a loss of face by the west, it has to be realised that the only way to knock back the Chinese attempts to capitalise on the damage caused by Russia and the destabilised global situation is to support a Ukrainian military victory.”
But the expert warned: “It is now too late to provide any meaningful assistance before Ukraine launches a counteroffensive in May this year, but as Ukraine has not stated that this offensive would be the end of the war, it is beyond doubt that the West has to ensure continued support for Ukraine‘s fight against Russia in the months to come.
“A good signal to the Chinese would be a long-term strategy for arms and economic support to Ukraine, until the war comes to an end. This is not a matter of Ukraine winning or losing against Russia, but a matter of the entire world order and western democratic States losing to authoritarian regimes, with Ukraine being the unfortunate actor who must sacrifice the lives of its citizens in defence of Western democracy.”
It comes as China said it will send a special representative of the Chinese government on Eurasian affairs to visit Ukraine and other countries to conduct in-depth communication with all parties on the political settlement of the crisis.
After a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday, Xi also said, on the nuclear issue, all relevant parties must stay calm and exercise restraint, truly act in the interests of their own future and that of humanity, and jointly manage the crisis.
With rational thinking and voices now on the rise, it is important to seize the opportunity and build up favourable conditions for the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis, he urged.
It is hoped that all parties would seriously reflect on the Ukraine crisis and jointly explore ways to bring lasting peace and security to Europe through dialogue, said Xi.
China will continue to facilitate talks for peace and make its efforts for an early ceasefire and restoration of peace, he vowed.