Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday warned against “expansion” of military ties in a speech ahead of a virtual summit with top leaders of Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa.
Beijing is hosting the meeting of the influential club of BRICS emerging economies, which account for more than 40 percent of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world’s GDP.
Three of its members – China, India and South Africa – have refrained from voting on a UN resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Xi told the BRICS trade forum that the “Ukraine crisis is … a wake-up call” and warned against “expanding military alliances and seeking its own security at the expense of the security of other countries”.
China and India have strong military ties with Russia and buy large amounts of its oil and gas.
In a call last week, Xi assured his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that China would support Moscow’s core interests in “sovereignty and security” – with the United States warning Beijing that it would end up “on the wrong side of history”. risks being.
South Africa, one of the few African countries to have diplomatic influence outside the continent, has not condemned the Russian military action.
Xi also took a dig at US and EU sanctions on Russia in his speech on Wednesday, saying “sanctions are a boomerang and a double-edged sword”.
The BRICS summit comes as Russian troops continue to strike eastern Ukraine after invading the country four months ago.
Both China and India have increased crude oil imports from Russia, helping Moscow offset losses from Western countries, reducing energy purchases from the country.
India bought six times more Russian oil from March to May than in the same period last year, while imports by China tripled during that period, data from research firm Rystad Energy showed.
Beijing and Moscow, once bitter Cold War rivals, have increased cooperation in recent years.
The two countries also flew bombers over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea while US President Joe Biden was in Tokyo in late May – a sign of strong military ties.
This month, he also unveiled the country’s first road bridge connecting the far eastern Russian city of Blagoveshchensk with the northern Chinese city of Hehe.
President Putin was also in Beijing for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics a few days before the offensive began.
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