It's Not Easy for China to Play Peacemaker for Russia-Ukraine: Analyst

It's Not Easy for China to Play Peacemaker for Russia-Ukraine: Analyst
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping shake hands during a signing ceremony following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21, 2023. (Mikhail Tereshchenko/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)
Tiffany Meier

Brokering a Russia-Ukraine "peace deal" is not an easy task for China, according to China economic analyst Antonio Graceffo.

Beijing released a Feb. 24 position paper that outlined China's ruling communist regime’s desire to become a mediator in the conflict.

On March 20, Chinese leader Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow for a three-day state visit, with Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin expected to discuss China’s proposal for resolving the conflict in Ukraine.

Graceffo said the meeting between Xi and Putin reaffirms to the Russian people that China is still supporting Moscow and the Russian people and the war, given the fact that “Putin has been so thoroughly ostracized from the rest of the world.”

On the other hand, Ukraine has made clear its requirements that Russia has to withdraw forces from its territories country, and on Ukraine’s terms, Graceffo said. A peace deal should also imply that Russia will pay reparations to Ukraine for all the lives and destruction they've caused.

“And [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelenskyy even said, about a week ago, he wants Crimea back. That is his country. It was stolen by Russia,” Graceffo said.

“So I don't see how Xi could effectively come up with a peace plan that will be acceptable to Zelensky,” Graceffo told NTD's “China in Focus,” the sister media outlet of The Epoch Times.

Xi pushed for a peace proposal for the Ukraine war after his success as a mediator for a peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran last week, according to Graceffo.

“And now, Xi's realized that he can get a lot of positive reinforcement recognized in the world as a peacemaker. And then, they'll point at every American aggression, every war, and they're gonna say, ‘Oh, you know, look at the Americans, they make war and China makes peace, because China's benevolent and great and only cares about helping the rest of the world,’” Graceffo said of the Chinese Communist Party.

However, in his opinion, as for the peace plan for Ukraine, Xi will not commit to it, since he is a “cagey politician” who is aware that there is a high possibility that this peace deal will be a failure.

Russia Economy Crippled

Graceffo noted that the sanctions levied by the West since the outbreak of Russia's war “have really crippled the Russian economy.”

He pointed to the price cap of $60 per barrel that the United States and its allies have imposed on Russia’s crude oil exports since December last year.

“Also, European and American flagships and European and American insurers will not insure any ship that's carrying Russian oil that was sold for over $60. Immediately, in December, this already had a negative impact on Russia's economy,” Graceffo said.

Russia's revenues have seen a plunge since January, with a record budget deficit, according to Bloomberg.

Also, the chip ban imposed by America and its allies on Russia last year has seen the country run out of inputs, especially for its stockpile of weapons, including ammunition and machinery, Graceffo noted.

“So I believe this year, the Russian economy is in dramatically worse shape than last year.”

Hannah Ng is a reporter covering U.S. and China news. She holds a master's degree in international and development economics from the University of Applied Science Berlin.
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