According to Reuters, after China refused to term Moscow’s move an invasion and instead urged all sides to exercise patience, President Joe Biden said on Feb. 25 that any country that backed Russia’s offensive in Ukraine would be “stained by association.”

On Thursday, the Ukrainian military fought Russian invaders on three sides after Moscow launched the most significant attack on the European country since World War II, forcing tens of thousands of residents to leave their homes.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Biden revealed tough new sanctions on Russia coordinated with allies.

He said, “Putin will be a pariah on the international stage. Any nation that countenances Russia’s naked aggression against Ukraine will be stained by association.”

Putin’s action, according to Biden, “betrays a sinister vision for a future of our world; one where nations take what they want by force.”

White House spokeswoman Jan Psaki told a later news briefing, noting that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had spoken with his Chinese counterpart in Ukraine this week. Biden was “certainly open to speaking with his counterpart,” referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, in the months preceding up to Putin’s strike on Ukraine, commentators have focused more on Taiwan, with analysts debating if Russian aggression against Ukraine might prompt a comparable Chinese attack on Taiwan. Many who argue that the U.S. should do less to prevent Russian aggression in Ukraine argue that it is a distraction from a more serious threat: a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

In response to Biden’s remarks on Ukraine, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying (华春莹) called on “all sides to exercise restraint to prevent the situation from getting out of control.”

She stated, “Regarding the definition of an invasion, I think we should go back to how to view the current situation in Ukraine. The Ukrainian issue has another very complicated historical background that has continued to today. It may not be what everyone wants to see.”

Over Ukraine, China was expected to support Russia diplomatically and even economically, but not militarily. Hua said China had not provided Russia with any military support, in response to a question.

Reuters reported that, a senior official in the Biden administration told reporters February 24 that China had seemed to go close to endorsing Russia’s actions and that many countries would be watching Beijing’s votes when the United Nations Security Council considers a resolution on the issue on Friday.

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