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Russia’s then prime minister Vladimir Putin walks past a Chinese Guard of Honour contingent upon arriving in Beijing on Oct. 11, 2011.
Russia’s then prime minister Vladimir Putin walks past a Chinese Guard of Honour contingent upon arriving in Beijing on Oct. 11, 2011.
(Ng Han Guan/AP)

Why China has turned its back on Russia

Russia is not the only country with a commercial and military interest in Ukraine. China has been watching the threatening gestures between Kiev and Moscow with mounting unease but few have noticed that Beijing is not an entirely dispassionate observer. That became clear on Monday when the Chinese government delivered a diplomatic brush-off to President Vladimir Putin. After assurances from Kremlin officials that China supported the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, the Chinese government demurred, declaring its support for “the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”