China is not neutral in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, unlike India.
- China recently questioned the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the countries that Russia has invaded, or threatened to invade (although later the remarks were rolled back). India has not.
- China exports components used for arms manufacturing by Russia, for use against Ukraine. India has a much smaller role in this process.
- China has a "no-limits friendship" friendship with Russia, with recent high-level mutual visits to reinforce this. India does not have this.
- The recent visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow was a huge symbolic gesture of support of Russia by China. It was widely reported. Such high-level visits are rare, particularly for the China (thanks to T.E.D. for bringing this to my attention). There was no corresponding gesture by India.
Asked about his position on whether Crimea was part of Ukraine or not, [Lu Shaye, China’s ambassador to France] said in a French TV interview on Friday that historically it was part of Russia and had been offered to Ukraine by the former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.
The independent sovereign nations that emerged after the fall of the former Soviet Union “don’t have effective status under international law because there is not an international agreement confirming their status as sovereign nations”, he said.
Jon Henley and Jennifer Rankin: "China rows back after envoy denies sovereignty of former Soviet states". The Guardian, April 24, 2023: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/apr/24/china-rows-back-after-envoy-denies-sovereignty-of-former-soviet-states
Maria Shagina, an expert in economic sanctions at the International Institute of Strategic Studies, says China has not overtly supplied Russia with weapons but may be secretly selling it hi-tech products which could be used for military purposes.
"There is evidence that China is the biggest exporter of semiconductors - often through shell companies in Hong Kong and the UAE - to Russia," she says.
"Some Chinese companies are also supplying civilian drones, exploiting the grey space between military and civilian purposes."
The US-based Center for Advanced Defense Studies says Chinese companies may be sending Russia electronic parts for anti-aircraft missile radars.
The US has also imposed sanctions on a Chinese company which Washington says has provided satellite imagery in support of Russian mercenary forces fighting in Ukraine.
"Ukraine war: What support is China giving Russia?" BBC News, March 20, 2023: https://www.bbc.com/news/60571253
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he doesn’t recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty. The Kremlin has also made clear that it sees the independence of the Baltic States and their role in NATO and the EU as threats to Russian security.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government sees Moscow as a partner in opposing U.S. domination of global affairs.
Beijing declared it had a “no-limits friendship” with Moscow before Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine but has tried to appear neutral, calling for a cease-fire and peace talks. China has repeated Russian justifications for the invasion.
AP News, April 25, 2023: https://apnews.com/article/china-baltics-sovereignty-crimea-russia-98f05ace20d65d5f51b34c6652a81b00
Beijing has been Moscow’s most conspicuous and consequential backer in the war, pledging a “no limits” partnership with Russia shortly before the February 2022 invasion and helping keep Russia’s wartime economy afloat. Moscow’s growing reliance on China has been lucrative and useful for Beijing—and this economic dependence will likely continue and deepen. China’s rhetorical commitment to “multipolarity” in geopolitics has encouraged many countries in the global South to remain aloof from the war, unwilling to rally to Ukraine’s cause. After crowing about its reconciliation of Iran and Saudi Arabia, China is now promoting its “peace plan” for Ukraine, an entirely unrealistic proposal that caters almost exclusively to Russia’s interests. (Notably, the plan includes no requirement for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.) ...
And yet for all it has gained as a putative bystander, China may not be willing to stay on the sidelines indefinitely. A defeated Russia is not in China’s interest. The Kremlin is Beijing’s most important partner in its opposition to the U.S.-led international order. Despite their many differences, China and Russia have joined forces to advance an alternative order with its own rules of war and peace, its own financial centers, and its own multilateral institutions. “Change is coming that hasn’t happened in 100 years,” Xi declared in April, at the end of a visit to Moscow. “And we are driving this change together.” A Russian humiliation in Ukraine would undermine this narrative, giving the United States greater latitude to focus its energies and resources on competing with China.
Liana Fix and Michael Kimmage "How China Could Save Putin’s War in Ukraine: The Logic—and Consequences—of Chinese Military Support for Russia". Foreign Affairs, April 26, 2023: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/china/how-china-could-save-putins-war-ukraine
They call each other dear old friends. And in their 40th meeting, Chinese President Xi Jinping labeled Russian President Vladimir Putin his partner in war and peace.
Xi Jinping, Chinese President (through translator):
China attaches great importance to China-Russia relations, because we are each other's biggest neighboring countries as well as strategic partners.
The two men share authoritarian recipes for power and a mutual desire to upend U.S. influence. China remains one of the biggest buyers of Russian energy.
Chinese companies are providing Russia with parts essential to maintain Russian weapons. The two countries conduct joint military exercises. And since the war in Ukraine began, China has neither endorsed, nor condemned it. Beijing's new peace plan calls for upholding Ukraine's sovereignty, but not for Russian troops to withdraw, an approach Putin endorsed today.
Nick Schifrin, Zeba Warsi and Dan Sagalyn "Chinese president visits Putin in Russia as the countries increase cooperation", PBS NewsHour, Mar 20, 2023: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/chinese-president-visits-putin-in-russia-as-the-countries-increase-cooperation
The host [of Russian State TV show host Vladimir Solovyov] slid right into his go-to tactics, asserting that anyone who believes Russia might be running low on conventional missiles should remember the “6,000 nuclear warheads” it also possesses. He asked: “Do you have air defense systems? Europeans, are you certain that all is well with you? You’ve been delivering everything to Ukraine... Germans, you are naked right now! N-a-k-e-d! You’ve given up your IRIS-T [high-tech air-defense missile systems].”
One by one, Solovyov threatened Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Baltic nations, saying that “Yesterday it finally became clear what and how we should do.” He opined that NATO’s measured response gave away its hesitation to escalate, claiming that the alliance lives in fear of the great and mighty Russia. He called upon NATO to carefully weigh every word in its final resolution, so that it does not become a damning “verdict.”
Julia Davis "Putin’s Top TV Puppet Threatens 7 Countries With Air Strikes After Poland Blast" The Daily Beast , Nov. 16, 2022: https://www.thedailybeast.com/vladimir-putins-top-propagandist-vladimir-solovyov-threatens-europe-with-air-strikes-after-poland-blast
The video clips below (with English subtitles) show multiple examples of Vladimir Solovyev, the top propagandist on Russian state TV, openly calling on nuking and/or invading the European countries, especially the Baltic states, as well as the United States. Solovyev's much earlier calls to invade Ukraine were followed by the actual Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.