China defends its stance on Russian invasion: 'Right side of history'

China has defended its rhetoric surrounding Russia's invasion of Ukraine, insisting it will find itself standing "on the right side of history".

Beijing has faced mounting criticism for its refusal to label Russia's advancements an invasion, and has refrained from criticising Russia President Vladimir Putin – someone who has developed a strong relationship with China President Xi Jinping in recent months.

The Communist Party of China has also suggested US-led NATO's development eastwards has in part provoked the war.

Over the weekend, Foreign Minister Wang Yi reaffirmed China's stance, warning Western countries it would not succumb to their repeated calls to join them in their condemnation of Russia.

Wang Yi in a suit looking on in front of a black background.
Wang Yi has defended China's position on Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Source: Getty

"China will never accept any external coercion or pressure, and opposes any unfounded accusations and suspicions against China," he said.

"We have always stood for maintaining peace and opposing war. China's position is objective and fair, and is in line with the wishes of most countries.

"Time will prove that China's claims are on the right side of history."

Mr Wang did however last week recognise the conflict in Ukraine as 'war' – a word Beijing had not used in an official capacity until now.

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping stand in front of Russia and China flags
China has refused to criticise Russia – a move which it believes will be vindicated. Source: Getty

Sanctions against Russia 'outrageous', China says

While several countries continue to ramp up sanctions against Russia, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison lashed out at Beijing last month who he said had "thrown a lifeline to Russia" by approving imports barred by other countries.

But China has warned sanctions are not the way forward, with Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng saying mounting punitive measures were increasingly "outrageous".

The US has been dismayed by China entertaining unsubstantiated claims Washington was funding Ukrainian laboratories developing biological weapons.

Both the US and Australia have warned China they will not stand by and allow China to assist Russia if it received a request to do so.

Last week US President Joe Biden branded Mr Putin "a war criminal".

Experts warn Mr Xi finds himself in a precarious position sharing ties with Russia, with such a relationship threatening its diplomacy with other nations.

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