(CNSNews.com) – Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Patrick Ryder used the word “hope” four times in less than three minutes on Friday, while discussing Chinese President Xi Zinping’s upcoming visit to Russia.
Xi plans to make a state visit to Russia on Monday through Wednesday, his first visit there since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine a year ago February.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Wenbin said President Xi’s visit to Russia “will be a trip for peace…China will uphold an objective and fair position on the Ukraine crisis and play a constructive role in promoting talks for peace.”
CNN’s Kaitlin Collins asked Ryder on Friday, “Does the U.S. believe that’s what’s happening here?”
Ryder said it’s something the Biden administration is “keeping a very close eye on.”
“Interestingly, in China’s so-called peace plan, one of the things that they highlight at the very top is respect for the sovereignty of all countries. We certainly would hope that they mean that.
“If that means that Ukraine supposed to somehow just give up and allow its territory to be subsumed by Russian occupiers, that certainly is duplicitous and something that I don’t think Ukraine nor the rest of the world would take seriously.”
Collins next asked Ryder, “Does the U.S. Still believe China is considering providing weapons to Russia to use in Ukraine?”
“Yeah, so at this point we have not seen that China has provided any type of lethal assistance to Russia for use on the battlefield in Ukraine,” Ryder responded.
“Again, that’s something we are keeping a very close eye on. We would hope that China would not do that. We think it would be a big mistake. It would not be in their interest, and it would squarely put China in the camp of the small number of countries that have said that Ukraine should be extinguished as a country.
“And so any type of lethal assistance going from China to Russia that could be used on the battlefield would needlessly prolong this conflict and needlessly kill innocent Ukrainians. And so we hope that they don’t do that and we have communicated that both publicly and privately.”
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Chinese leader Xi also plans to speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the first time since the war started, “likely after he visits Moscow next week.”
Kaitlin Collins asked Ryder if the U.S. thinks Xi should meet with Zelensky before he goes to Russia:
“We think that it’s important that China has the perspective of Ukraine,” Ryder said.
“Clearly, Russia’s motivations are nefarious. They illegally invaded and have occupied Ukraine.
“So we hope that president Xi and the Chinese government would be able to have the benefit of understanding what exactly the impact of their support to Russia is having.”
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