Live updates: Russia invades Ukraine

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying attends a press conference in Beijing, China, on February 24 (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

China refused to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine on Thursday, instead repeating calls for the parties to “exercise restraint” and accusing the United States of “fuelling the fire” in tensions.

In a Foreign Ministry briefing that lasted more than 90 minutes, spokesperson and Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chunying avoided more than 11 questions regarding Russia’s actions in Ukraine. It included frequent inquiries about whether Beijing would view Russia’s actions as an invasion and whether it violated Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Hua added that China will start importing Russian wheat, a move that could mitigate the impact of Western sanctions on Russia.

“The Ukraine issue has a very complex historical background. It has developed into the current situation due to the joint action of various factors… Security should be a matter of joint cooperation and sustainable security, and the legitimate security concerns of all parties should be respected and dealt with,” Hua said, sticking to the Look closely at the comments made the day before.

Hua has repeatedly said that China “closely follows the latest situation” and calls on the parties to “exercise restraint to avoid the situation getting out of control.”

After questions from multiple media outlets about whether China considers Russia’s moves an invasion, Hua asked reporters, “Why are you so obsessed with this question?

You can ask the American side. They keep fanning the fires… You can ask them if they have any plans to put out the fire.

On Thursday, China’s customs department also said it would start allowing wheat imports from February 24 from Russia. The two countries announced an agreement earlier this month for China to import Russian wheat during Putin’s visit to Beijing to meet President Xi and attend the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

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Sino-Russian friendship: Beijing faces a complex situation as it tries to balance its deep ties with Moscow with its foreign policy of vigorously defending state sovereignty.

Although there are no military allies, China and Russia have been advancing Increasingly united front In the face of what they see as Western interference in their affairs and regions.

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