Politico: Calls grow for China and India to talk sense into Putin

    WORLD  29 September 2022 - 22:01

    The US and its allies are hoping to rally the international community to send an unmistakable message to Vladimir Putin: Using nuclear weapons would prompt a crippling economic and diplomatic response, even from Russia’s friends.

    In particular, calls are growing inside and outside the Biden administration to enlist China and India, two major powers with close ties to Moscow, to amp up the pressure on Putin by signalling that even a limited nuclear strike in Ukraine would sever what few global lifelines Russia has left, Politico reported on September 28.

    “They could let Mr. Putin know what a disastrously bad idea any use of nuclear weapons would be,” said a U.S. official involved in nonproliferation policy who is advocating discreet overtures to Beijing and New Delhi for help.

    “They should do it. I hope they would,” added the official, who like others interviewed for this article asked not to be identified in order to discuss internal deliberations.

    A senior State Department official said that US diplomats have been pressing Russia’s regional friends and foes alike to pressure Putin not to go the nuclear route.

    “We’d made the point in a number of conversations with countries in the Indo-Pacific region — ally, partner, or otherwise — of the importance of speaking with one voice against the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” the official said, without specifying whether the US was leaning on China and India. “Every country has a responsibility to lend its voice.”

    The Biden administration, meanwhile, is scrambling to get the United Nations to take action against Russia. One way could involve bypassing the U.N. Security Council, where Russia has a veto, to adopt a resolution that would condemn Moscow’s plans to annex large parts of eastern Ukraine and call on Russia to withdraw all its troops, US officials said.

    Officials are considering using an obscure provision in the UN charter, a move the governing body also used in 1950, after the North Korean attack on South Korea. North Korea’s attack was backed by China and Russia — both veto-wielding Security Council members.

    But US officials believe one of the most promising ways to change Putin’s mind is to lean on Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a pair of world leaders who are believed to have significant sway over Putin, according to current and former officials in the US and Europe.

    China has not publicly criticized its ally and has continued its military cooperation with Moscow since the February invasion of Ukraine. Following the economic sanctions levied on Russia, China also became an even bigger market for Russian goods, particularly energy supplies.

    But it has also not signed any major economic deals with Moscow since the invasion, as expected. And Putin himself hinted at growing concerns from Beijing about Russia’s invasion at a meeting of heads of state at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Uzbekistan this month.

    “We highly appreciate the balanced position of our Chinese friends in connection with the Ukrainian crisis,” Putin said. “We understand your questions and concerns in this regard.”

    Xi in particular is seen as a potentially powerful voice in helping defuse the crisis from escalating further.

    “[Putin] and Xi have this unbounded friendship, right?” said Rose Gottemoeller, a former deputy secretary general of NATO who has negotiated with Putin, noting the two leaders’ warm relations in recent years. “He should be listening to his friend right now.”

    That also goes for Modi, a closer democratic ally to Washington than his Chinese counterpart, who expressed public displeasure at Putin’s actions in Ukraine at the meeting in Uzbekistan.

    And last week, India’s foreign minister, S. Jaishankar, expressed renewed concern about the situation in Ukraine, singling out the threat of nuclear weapons.

    “The trajectory of the Ukraine conflict is a matter of profound concern for the entire international community,” he said at the UN. “The future outlook appears even more disturbing. The nuclear issue is of particular anxiety.”

    Caliber.Az




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