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US rejects Ukraine ceasefire call as it would cement Russian gains

 March 19, 2023

The White House officially rejected China’s proposition for a ceasefire on Friday, saying that it is “effectively the ratification of Russian conquest” and would only appease Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The response comes weeks after the Chinese government called for a breather in the Russo-Ukranian conflict, timing it with the first anniversary of Putin’s occupation of Ukraine.

Some have suggested that this is a bad move on President Biden’s part, as it makes the US seem like a propagator of the war.

The White House, however, argues the opposite. In a briefing call, White House National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby stated that “Russia would be free, then, to use a ceasefire to only further entrench their positions in Ukraine. To rebuild, refit and refresh their forces so that they can restart attacks on Ukraine at a time of their choosing. We do not believe that this is a step towards a just and global peace.”

Political experts also believe that this can only worsen US-China relations, which are already highly tense, especially since Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to meet with Putin this upcoming week.

In addition, the fact that the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin on Friday, citing “war crimes,” makes things even more complicated.

World War III

Dubbed an “invasion” by the international community, the occupation of Ukraine by its former Soviet neighbor has been heavily scrutinized since it began on February 24, 2022.

The occupation came as a result of a long-standing conflict between the two countries after Russia annexed Crimea, a Ukrainian territory that Putin argues belongs to Russia.

Since the start of the conflict, millions of Ukrainians have been displaced from their homes and it is estimated that there have been over 200,000 casualties on both sides. 

Putin, however, continues to justify his actions as legitimate, stating that Ukraine needs to be “demilitarised and de-Nazified.”

War Crimes

ICC’s arrest warrant for Putin came as a surprise and received some backlash even from critics of the war.

Twitter users were quick to point out that neither Clinton, Bush, Obama, nor any other US President we're ever called out despite the nation’s involvement in numerous wars including Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and Syria.

According to a statement from the ICC, Putin “is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population [children] and that of unlawful transfer of population [children] from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”

The Kremlin described the words as “outrageous and unacceptable.”

It is not yet clear if and how the warrant will be enforced, considering that Russia does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction.

China in the Center 

While China has tried to remain neutral in the Russo-Ukranian conflict, political experts argue that Xi and Putin are closer than they want to appear. The two countries did, after all, sign a “no limits” partnership agreement shortly before the invasion began.

This has caused many to question whether China’s quest for peace comes from sincere intentions or if they have ulterior motives.

Kirby is one to express such doubt, stating, “We have deep concerns about that because of what it actually means in terms of benefiting Russia, at the expense of Ukraine. So that's why we're expressing these concerns even before the visit. Because it would be a classic part of the China playbook.”

China has repeatedly criticized both the U.S. and NATO, accusing them of provoking Putin and pointing out that the sanctions issued on the former Soviet republic have only made things worse.

Putin’s meeting with Xi may unveil whether Kirby’s concerns are accurate. According to the Kremlin, the two leaders are expected to discuss “issues of further development of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction between Russia and China” and the “deepening Russian-Chinese cooperation in the international arena.” The two countries are also expected to sign yet another bilateral agreement.