On Al-Arabiya website on 27/2/2023 it was reported: (The Kremlin: We welcome the Chinese peace plan, but a settlement is far away). It was also reported on Al-Youm channel website on 27/2/2023 (The Kremlin said that Russia is looking with interest at the Chinese peace plan in Ukraine, indicating that the details of the proposal need careful analysis and calculations, as he described it). On 21/2/2023, Putin announced (“that Russia has suspended its participation in the New Start Treaty signed with the United States.” (Anadolu, 21/2/2023)). These statements came after Biden’s visit to Kiev on 20/2/2023 and his meeting with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, where Biden said: (Ukraine will receive a new military aid package worth $500 million to be announced on Tuesday. (Sky News Arabia, 20/2/2023)). These statements were preceded by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s announcement during the Munich Security Conference that China has an initiative for peace in Ukraine, and he said, (“This warfare must not continue.” (CNN Arabic, 18/2/2023).
The question is: Is China able to stop the war in Ukraine? Why is China taking this initiative a year after the outbreak of the war? Why did Russia welcome the plan and then said that the settlement is far away? And what is its chance of success?
In order to clarify the answer to the above questions, we review the following:
First: Influential Countries regarding the Russian-Ukrainian war
1- America: America, led by President Biden, has succeeded in removing European doubts about the American leadership in the Western world. The Biden administration has unified Western efforts to provide military and non-military aid to Ukraine so that it can withstand the Russian attack. It also united the West in imposing economic sanctions on Russia, and succeeded in cutting off the Russian energy arteries from Europe. It even included countries far from Europe for the sanctions it imposes on Russia, such as Japan, South Korea, and Australia, and revived NATO after it became under suspicion during the previous Trump administration. Biden’s administration began increasing weapons to Ukraine, and declared that its goal is to defeat Russia in Ukraine.
2- The major powers in Europe: While it was no longer possible to distinguish the British positions from the American positions against Russia, Germany and France joined those positions after that. With every cut off of Russian energy arteries from Europe, Germany was increasing its anti-Russian stances, even German Foreign Minister Baerbock said, in the context of her efforts to unify European positions regarding supplying Ukraine with tanks: (We are fighting a war against Russia, not against each other… (Al-Shorouk, 24/1/2023), to be described by former Russian President Medvedev as a “useful fool” (Anadolu, 29/1/2023), that is, it recognizes that Europe is a party to the Ukrainian conflict. As for France, which faced criticism from its allies because of its president’s contacts with the Russian president, it finally started riding the same train that European countries rode before it behind the American trailer against Russia. Its president, Macron, said during his return from the Munich conference, according to Sky News Arabia, 19/2/2023: (I want Russia to be defeated in Ukraine and I want Ukraine to be able to defend its position).
3- Russia: After the aura of power that covered the Russian army internationally, the war in Ukraine revealed serious weaknesses that lowered the rank of the Russian army, which was defeated around Kiev, in Kharkiv, and finally in Kherson. After the Russian army was the pillar of Russia’s greatness, there is nothing left of it except Russia’s nuclear power as an international pillar of its greatness. As for the Russian economy, it is already weak. Politically, America and Europe have succeeded to a large extent in imposing international isolation around Russia, in addition to Russia’s lack of internal consensus on the war. When it imposed compulsory conscription, many Russians fled abroad!
Second: The impact of all these international changes on China:
1- China realizes that it is itself at the top of the list of American priorities, i.e., ahead of Russia. America challenges China regarding Taiwan and embarrasses it with that, and challenges it through unprecedented military maneuvers with South Korea, and challenges it if it compensates Russia for its losses due to the sanctions imposed on Moscow, and challenges it if it has provided lethal military support to Russia. It has covertly besieged its economy, as in the economic war that America is waging against the Chinese company Huawei and the rest of the technology companies. Even publicly when it cut off electronic chips on the pretext of its military uses and that China threatens US national security. China considers the arming of Japan by America making it a pain in its side, if America did not develop it to be a pain in the heart of China, as well as other military alliances that America established in Asia such as AUKUS and Quad. All of this poses enormous challenges to China and its army.
2- As for the European countries, which constitute a major economic partner for China, just like America, they, that is, the European countries, have succumbed to Washington’s desires for joint coordination. This joint coordination that came to life after Russia ignited the war in Ukraine and the emergence of Europe’s urgent need for the American security umbrella to protect the continent from Russian threats. China has seen that the American leadership of the European countries, which was revived by the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine, has been dragging European countries to adopt American positions against China, and the term “like-minded” countries has emerged in reference to capitalist countries and their “Westernized” followers in East Asia. Rather there is talk that is been promoted about a role for NATO in East Asia, and this is a serious threat to China, that America is capable of drawing many countries against Beijing.
3- As for Russia, its weakness leads it to be a junior partner to China, especially since the international arena is gradually narrowing down on it. Europe has given up its oil and gas, and only a little of it is left after Russia was holding the energy nerve in Europe. While Europe and America close their doors to Russia, they are chasing it on the doorsteps of other countries, asking those countries to abide by the ceiling of oil prices imposed on Russia, and all of this makes Russia view China as almost the only door through which it can sell its energy sources and raw materials, which is what the West calls “Russian commercial pleading with China,” and this situation is a cause of embracement to China with America and Europe, which represent the most important destinations for its trade.
4- As for China itself, and despite the continued ambiguity of its declared positions on the war in Ukraine, it must see that what results from that war does not please it. China signed an “unlimited alliance” document with Russia before it ignited the war in Ukraine. When America and the European countries asked China to take a position against the Russian aggression against Ukraine, China’s positions were ambiguous. On the one hand, it did not declare its support for the Russian war, nor did it declare support for its ally, Russia. It was content with holding America responsible for its outbreak because it did not agree to give Russia security guarantees, as if China was waiting for Russia to impose a new reality in Ukraine, and security is established inside Ukraine, forcing Western countries to recognize a new international status for Russia, and this may tickle the feelings of the Chinese that it is implicitly considered a better international position for China, especially in Taiwan, and with the emergence of the weakness of the Russian army and the defeats it received on the battle fronts in Ukraine, China’s positions have been dominated by a state of fluctuation, as if it is retreating from its alliance with Russia.
5- All these Western positions that smell reek of hostility to China did not prompt China to adopt similar positions against America and European countries. China did not show its support for Russia, because the rise of China and the position of the new China depend entirely on its foreign trade, as the markets of America and European countries represent an original artery for the greatness of China. This differs from Russia, whose military legacy from the Soviet Union, and not the economy and international trade, represents the basis of its international standing. However, from another angle, China continued to conduct joint military maneuvers with Russia on the high seas in Asia and outside Asia, and perhaps it wanted to be in the middle, so as not to lose Russia, which it needs, if the problem occurs between it and America, and it does not want to lose the Western countries, with which trade is the lifeblood of its economy.
Third: Thus, these positions have made China think of being a kind of mediator who takes the initiative to resolve the crisis between the two parties, even if China’s relations with the two sides are not balanced. The meaning of all this is that China is witnessing that many black clouds are gathering in its sky after Russia ignited the war on Ukraine, and all of these clouds constitute the first part, or the Chinese part of the Chinese initiative for peace in Ukraine. But this part would not have yielded any serious initiative except by joining it with the second part. i.e., the Russian part. By examining this section, we find:
1- Even if Russia declared mobilization and recruited nearly half a million new soldiers, as well as if it returned to the attack as is the case today around the city of Bakhmut in the Donbass, it has become aware of the impossibility of winning the war, because it stands not only in the face of the Ukrainian army, but also according to its name “in the face of the capabilities of NATO”, which explicitly provides Ukraine with lethal military support and with a clear goal of defeating Russia in Ukraine. It seems that Russia has realized that it is facing a solid American will by defeating it in Ukraine, and even internationally, as Finland and Sweden are about to become new members of NATO And they are the closest countries geographically to Russia, and Germany, Russia’s sworn enemy throughout history, has become militarized at an accelerated rate, and in the east, the Japanese army may soon become a major threat to Russia, especially since Japan is asking Russia for the Kuril Islands that Russia occupied during World War II, and all these Ukrainian and international developments imposes great security burdens on Russia and exposes more of its weakness, especially as it imposes unprecedented economic sanctions.
2- These signs of Russian weakness, which represent a new Russian recognition of the outcome of its war in Ukraine, and the search for a way to stop the deterioration of its army and economy and stop the deterioration of international conditions around it, all of this is the second Russian part that is no less important than the first Chinese part of the Chinese peace initiative, meaning that Russia wants to stop the war in Ukraine, but it wants to save face.
Therefore, the meeting of the two parts (the negative international effects of the war on China, and Russia’s despair of victory in Ukraine) is what resulted in this Chinese initiative for peace in Ukraine. And this situation was not a year ago at the beginning of the war, so it seems that China was expecting Russia to quickly resolve the war in its favour. That is why China waited at the beginning of the war to present an initiative, but now, after Russia’s near despair of victory and the emergence of Russia’s tendency to negotiations while saving face, therefore China presented this initiative.
This is the reality of China’s peace initiative in Ukraine, and this explains its timing, especially what appeared in the initiative to stipulate respect for the sovereignty of countries to lure the West and Ukraine. In the initiative, China’s foreign minister announced support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, and he said, (the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all countries will be respected in China’s proposal (CNN Arabic, 18/2/2023)), as an attractive entrance for the West in the negotiations.
Fourth: As for the question about the success of this Chinese initiative, i.e., ending the war in Ukraine, this depends on several influencing factors:
1- It depends primarily on the position of America, which is followed by the positions of the European countries supporting Ukraine, those positions that speak of the tough position emanating from the Ukrainian capital Kiev and the Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. These Ukrainian and Western positions are summarized in the need for the Russian army to withdraw from all occupied territories in Ukraine, including Crimea, as a condition for peace negotiations, meaning that negotiation with Russia will not be over territory, but rather over compensation and bringing war criminals to an international court, and these conditions are rejected by Russia, which alludes to the reality on the ground, that is, a cease-fire at the current front lines, then negotiations. Certainly, Russia wants to make concessions after the cease-fire in a way that saves its face on the one hand, and on the other hand, by giving it some gains on the ground, even if they are symbolic, in addition to lifting of sanctions and the release of their seized funds.
2- It appears today that Western countries are not interested in the Chinese initiative and they are planning and waiting for a complete defeat of Russia in Ukraine. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: (We need more evidence that China is not working with Russia, and we do not see that now. (CNN Arabic, 18/2/2023)), and the US Secretary of State accused China of supporting Russia: (In an interview broadcast on Sunday, Blinken said that China is “strongly considering” providing Russia lethal assistance in its nearly yearlong war with Ukraine. (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, 20/2/2023)), and these are sufficient indications that the West is continuing to support Ukraine in order to defeat Russia.
3- For all of this, the Chinese initiative for peace in Ukraine, and despite its suggestion of respect for the territorial integrity of countries, meaning that Russia can withdraw. However, this initiative, according to today’s circumstances, is unacceptable to America and its followers in Europe, as well as Ukraine, which does not have a direct or fair control over its affairs. America supports Ukraine steadily, increasingly and rolling in the quality of weapons provided.
And it announces through its President Biden that the Russian president will not be victorious in Ukraine, and this solid American will is followed by a similar will in Britain as well as countries in eastern Europe such as Poland and the Baltic states that have a deep hatred for Russia… meaning that the Chinese peace initiative is neither accepted nor welcomed by America. It seems that these positions have embarrassed Russia, so its statements about the initiative began to be veiled with acceptance without showing it publicly, that is, one foot forward and another back. Sky News Arabia reported on 27/2/2023 on its news website: [The Kremlin says regarding China’s initiative: (The Conditions are not conducive to peace in Ukraine), but it went back and said: (Russia expresses its appreciation for the Chinese peace plan…)] It was also stated on Al-Youm TV website 27/2/2023, (The Kremlin said that Russia is looking with interest at the Chinese peace plan in Ukraine, referring to the details of the proposal need careful analysis and calculations, as it described it). As if Russia is setting itself a line of return.
Fifth: In conclusion, the coming period will witness a new development titled as China’s initiative to end the war in Ukraine, and these Chinese efforts, a year after the outbreak of that war, have become a hope for Russia to get out of Ukraine’s quagmire that is extremely dangerous to its international standing, in addition to the fact that these efforts are primarily a Chinese interest, unless America, Europe, NATO, and Ukraine reject this initiative and are suspicious of it. Therefore, the chances of this initiative appearing to succeed are at their lowest levels, unless international circumstances change or Russia proves that it is capable of launching a major and effective attack in Ukraine, which is likely in the foreseeable future in light of America and NATO countries lying in wait against Russia, and these countries stand ready to extend Ukraine with all the arteries of the fight to prevent Russia’s victory.
In conclusion, these colonial kaffir countries called major in today’s world are fighting among themselves, not for the good of the world, but rather for evil and harm. Russia is attacking Ukraine to kill every Ukrainian who moves, and America and the West are fighting aggression with every Ukrainian, not with their soldiers! The two parties are fighting in Ukraine to kill every Ukrainian… This is how these countries that seek corruption on earth do not value the intensity of bloodshed as long as they achieve their interests, but rather some of their interests… As if history repeats itself when the Persian and Roman states were fighting, one defeats the other, and vice versa, and so on… Each of them acts like a machine that sucks the blood of people to achieve its own interests… And this continued until Allah honoured the people of truth and justice, the Islamic Ummah, with victory and clear conquest, so Islam and Muslims were glorified, and disbelief and the kuffar were humiliated, and this will happen once again, Allah willing,
[وَيَوْمَئِذٍ يَفْرَحُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ * بِنَصْرِ اللَّهِ يَنْصُرُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ]
“And that day the believers will rejoice * In the victory of Allāh.1 He gives victory to whom He wills, and He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful” [Ar-Rum: 4-5].
9 Sha’ban 1444 AH – 01/03/2023 CE