The US war over Ukraine is a phase in the West’s hybrid war on RussiaThis analysis is a presentation that scholar Radhika Desai gave for the
The conflict that the West calls Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and which Moscow calls its special military operations for Ukraine’s demilitarization and denazification, is not a conflict between Ukraine and Russia; it is a phase in the hybrid war that the West has been waging for decades against any country that chooses an economic path other than subordination to the United States.
In its current phase, this war takes the form of a US-led NATO war over Ukraine. In this war, Ukraine is the terrain, and a pawn – one that can be sacrificed.
This fact is hidden by wall-to-wall Western propaganda portraying Russian President Vladimir Putin as either mad or a devil hell-bent on recreating the Soviet Union. This pre-empts any questions about why Putin might be doing this, about the rationale for Russian actions.
The United States, having sought without success to dominate the world
, wages this war to stall its historic decline, the loss of what remains of its power.
This decline has accelerated in recent decades as neoliberalism
turned its capitalist economic system unproductive, financialised, predatory, speculative, and ecologically destructive, massively diminishing Washington’s already dubious attractions to its allies around the world.
Meanwhile, socialist China’s productive economy performed spectacularly and became a new pole of attraction in the world economy. This conflict, therefore, has long roots in the decaying capitalism headquartered in the US.
With economic decline, having lost what economic carrots it can offer other countries, the United States has relied ever more heavily on its imperial status and military capacities.
However, the dollar system that constitutes the core of the US empire has always been unstable, rocked by the refusal of allies to support it before 1971 and rocked by the series of financialisations – expansions of purely speculative and predatory financial activity – that it has had to rely on since then.
Compensating for the inadequacies of this system through military force has been easier said than done.
The US has never won a major war, other than against tiny countries like Grenada and Panama. It had to accept partition in Korea, was defeated in Vietnam, and achieved little more than destruction in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. This record culminated in ignominious withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021.
The real relation between the military that has astronomical sums spent on it and its performance can appear a complex one until one realises that its performance is not the critical issue for its funders and supporters. The expansion of markets for it, domestically and abroad, is.
US hybrid wars seek to stall its decline and halt the rise of alternatives
The United States’ hybrid wars aim to stall these processes of economic and military decline, as well as the rise of China, which is diminishing its importance in the world economy and world affairs.
Washington hopes to do this in at least three ways:A
) First, the United States seeks to expand opportunities for the four sectors of economic activity in which US corporations retain an edge:1.
The first of these sectors is the military-industrial complex, which relies on NATO expansion and its interoperability requirements to expand markets and profits. It can definitely look forward to a bonanza of orders, from the US and elsewhere, as military “aid” to Ukraine expands and countries increase military expenditures under NATO countries’ new found “unity” and willingness to spend on defence.2.
The second is the fossil fuel and mining sector, which has long been the mainstay of this white-settler state. It is already benefitting from expanding energy exports to a captive market in Europe which has been persuaded to stop importing much cheaper Russian energy.3.
The third is the finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sector, which forms the critical underpinning of the dollar system that, along with the US’ military apparatus, supports its imperial project. With its upper echelons poised to benefit from any volatility, not only does it gain from ructions in currency or asset markets, it will also exploit new opportunities, such as Ukrainian war bonds
Finally, there are the industries that rely on monopoly and intellectual property rights protections such as information and communications technology and Big Pharma. They hope to benefit from any enlargement of the ambit of US capital, as compliance with intellectual property rights is a critical US demand.
A moment’s reflection will reveal that all these sectors involve the US use of force around the world.B)
The second way that US hybrid wars seek to stall the process of the world economic centre of gravity shifting away from the US is to try to prevent China and other countries, such as Russia or Iran, from escaping subordination to the West.
The United States aims to prevent these nations from running their economies and engaging with other countries – each other, their neighbours, the West, and the rest of the world – on terms of their own choosing. Instead, they must subordinate themselves to the US or the West generally.C)
Finally, Washington seeks to secure its dominance against decline by re-subordinating US allies – Europeans, East Asians, and any others further afield it can net.
Such subordination not only works to the detriment of the people of these countries, but often also to that of many elements of capital.
In other words, the US aim is the violent defence of all aspects of the imperialist system on which its economy depends.
The ‘rules-based international order’
Membership of NATO and the imposition of the so-called “rules-based international order” (RUBIO) is a central part of this war. And both represent direct challenges to the UN and international law.
Such subordination is also pursued through high-minded talk of democracy and human rights, when, in fact, what is promoted is neoliberalism and authoritarianism (with “democracy” reduced to the regular conduct of increasingly compromised elections).
This can include, as we see in the case of Ukraine, the encouragement of fascist elements as critical supports to an otherwise unviable and unpopular regimes.
Worse, in pursuit of these aims, the US routinely violates all five of the seven clauses of Article 2 of the UN Charter
that apply to members’ obligations:
- to respect sovereignty of all members,
- to in good faith abide by the UN Charter,
- to settle disputes peacefully,
- to refrain from use of force or threat thereof,
- and to assist the UN, and not the offending party, when the UN acts against an errant member.
Geopolitical economy of international relations
Those in the West who take the “pox on all your houses” view of international conflicts, assuming all parties are equally responsible – and this includes many Marxists and other leftists – imagine that there is something called international relations, in which the relations of countries is governed by some autonomous logic, such as balance of powers or realism, in which all entities are the same, behave the same, or would do so if they could.
They forget that the first theories, and still most relevant theories, of so-called international relations were those of Marx and Engels and their successors.
These thinkers did not theorise some “international relations” floating above the patchwork quilt of the world map, an ethereal stage on which disembodied states acted with identically aggressive motives, if not resources.
The purposes of such “realism” was always to justify the aggression of imperialist countries.
In their best traditions, Marxists have theorised the geopolitical economy of the world’s “producing nations,”
in which imperialism arises from capitalism’s contradictions
, involves economic subordination to dominant capitalist economies, and compels states that resist it with isolation, if not war.
Such challenges have historically emerged most strongly in the form of actually existing socialisms that began emerging around the world starting with the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.
The new cold war
Though in recent years China has been the focus of the US drive to stall its decline and re-subordinate the world, Russia has never been far.
The first new cold war of the post-Cold War was declared against Russia after the conflict over Ukraine came out in the open in 2014 – and it is now centre stage once again.
At the same time, China is not absent from the scene, since one of the most obvious objectives of the United States is to embarrass or inconvenience China enough to prompt it break with Russia, though so far it has not succeeded
China is also not absent in the sense that there are similarities between Ukraine and Taiwan – and it is not clear
that these parallels benefit the US.
Why have new cold wars re-emerged after the end of the First Cold War
? The reason is simple: the original Cold War, like the new ones, was simply a phase in the history of imperialism, one where the US was faced with the strongest forms of challenge to imperialism, challenges it could not roll back.
When the First Cold War ended thanks to a “revolution from above
,” rather than any political or economic failures serious enough to bring about a collapse, the US used the situation to the hilt.
“Shock therapy” provided the framework for the economic subordination of Russia. That disastrous decade, with 2500% inflation and steep falls in life expectancy, is still remembered by Russians, and a great deal of Putin’s still substantial popularity depends on his economic stabilization of the country, which necessarily required undoing some (but not all) of the subordination to the West.
New cold wars emerged as soon as it became clear that Russia, and China, were not going to become pale, subordinated imitations of the US’ neoliberal financialised economies.
These cold wars have intensified as the decay of capitalism has grown.
The US hybrid war on Russia
Maximally, the United States’ aims in its war against Russia stretch to dismembering the Russian Federation on the model of Yugoslavia.
Imperialism has long championed minority rights and those of “oppressed” nations as a way of breaking up big states. Smaller weaker states are easier to pick off individually and to subordinate.
Of course, the US never had the ability to achieve this, even at the height of its power, and today its power is much diminished on all dimensions.
However, it does not prevent the US from trying, because its ruling classes have no Plan B, no plan to accept the role of an “ordinary” if still important economy.
The evolution of the strategy of and legitimacy for such a plan B has to be the aim of any serious left alternative in the US. As yet, however, it is not yet on the horizon.
The current phase of United States’ hybrid war to stall or reverse its decline, which takes the form of a war against Russia over Ukraine, can be said to have become active on 24 February 2022, when the US finally provoked Russia
into launching its military operations in Ukraine.
Exactly why Putin attacked is not entirely clear: Was it because of increased attacks on the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics? Because of the discovery of secret plans to attack them? Discoveries about biolabs? Or due to President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioning, on 19 February at the Munich Security Conference, that Ukraine might want nuclear weapons
The United States’ leading role in the nuclear arms race
, and its recent record of nuclear weapons proliferation vis-à-vis Australia
and the sale of nuclear capable fighters to Germany, certainly give no cause for complacency.
Or the new phase of this hybrid war could be said to have started in fall 2021, when negotiations between the new Democratic administration in the White House and the Kremlin heated up.
Over several months in late 2021, the United States was, on the one hand, allegedly negotiating with Russia over its legitimate security concerns, while on the other, issuing a series of “predictions” of Russian aggression in a high-decibel discourse, and simultaneously encouraging Ukraine to intensify its assault on the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.
This operation involved an unprecedented level of publication of “intelligence sources,” which gave rise to worry about US intelligence – already highly compromised in recent decades, most recently in Afghanistan – being exposed for more failures.
It turned out that an operation to rescue the reputation of US intelligence was being piggy-backed on the one to ensure that Russia would launch some sort of operation.
Predicting what you are doing is, of course, not “intelligence.”
In any case, the US “intelligence community,” composed of over two dozen competing and conflicting agencies, is a joke.
This joke was mixed up with the fact that the Democrats have historically been the party given to shrill anti-Russian rhetoric, as their way of keeping the military-industrial complex well-supplied, while still hoping do business with China. Although over the past year of the Biden presidency, this option has also been closed.
Needless to say, the question of Hunter Biden’s questionable operations in Ukraine – his membership on the board of its energy giant Burisma, controlled by the same oligarch who bankrolls Zelensky – remains unanswered at this point. It may partially explain the visceral anger Biden seems to harbour for Putin.
The Russian front of Washington’s hybrid war to stall the decline of US dominance could equally be said to have become active in 2019. In that year, with Western connivance, just before an election in which Ukrainian dissatisfaction with the post-Euromaidan government of Petro Poroshenko was going to express itself, the Ukrainian constitution was amended to commit the country to NATO membership.
Or this front of the hybrid war could be said to have begun in 2014, when the United States supported the Maidan counter-revolution that has put Ukraine under a right-wing regime reliant on neo-Nazis.
Or it could have become active in 2008, when the US and NATO offered Ukraine, along with Georgia, NATO membership.
Or in 1999, 2004, 2009, 2017, or 2020, when previous rounds of NATO expansion took place in explicit violation of promises by the US and the West
not to expand NATO a single inch beyond East Germany
For what it’s worth, one can even say this front of the hybrid war became active in December 1991, when Boris Yeltsin, Leonid Kravchuk, and Stanislav Shushkevich, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, and Belorussia, were encouraged by the United States and the West to dissolve the USSR – even though the people had voted in a referendum earlier in the year and 80% wanted to keep it together, with a turnout of 80%.
That dissolution was the opening to the horrifying “shock therapy” inflicted on the post-Soviet space, to break its economic backbone – an act of aggression if there ever was one.
That Armenia, Estonia, Georgia (though not the breakaway province of Abkhazia or South Ossetia), Latvia, Lithuania, and Moldova (though not Transnistria or Gagauzia) declined to participate in the referendum shows how long ago the lines of conflict that remain alive today were drawn.
In this long-running conflict, Ukraine is the United States’ pawn. It can be sacrificed, and one may argue it is being sacrificed as we speak, so the US can stall its slide.
Washington seeks to curb European autonomy
Today, Washington’s attempts to slow its decline involve pressuring its European allies, and even countries farther afield such as India or Turkey, to align more closely with it – in effect, to subordinate themselves to the United States.
This is particularly necessary since the rise of China has been causing more and more of them to loosen their ties to the US and seek closer relations with Beijing.
Developments since 24 February have permitted the US to boast of reuniting NATO, getting Germany to overturn its long-standing refusal to supply weapons and commit to spending 2% of GDP on defence, and pressuring the Swiss drop their centuries-old neutrality.
These developments are particularly sweet since European countries, particularly Germany and France, had long asserted their inclination to work with Russia.
In the 1960s, at the height of the First Cold War, this took the form of France’s departure from NATO command structures and Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik. After the collapse of the USSR, the US feared worse.
As Peter Gowan explained in his 1999 article “The NATO Powers and the Balkan Tragedy
First, NATO – the military cornerstone of the Alliance – had lost its rationale and there were moves in Western Europe (and Russia) to build a new security order in Europe that would tend to undermine US leadership.
Secondly, newly united Germany seemed to be building a new political bloc with France through the Maastricht Treaty, with its stress on a Common Foreign and Security Policy leading towards ‘a common defence’.
This seemed to be more than mere words, since Germany and France were in the process of building a joint military corps, the so-called ‘Euro-Corps’ outside the NATO framework – a move that profoundly disturbed Washington and London.
Thirdly, Germany’s drive in relation to Yugoslavia seemed to be geared not simply to domestic German constituencies, but to the construction of a German sphere of influence in Central Europe, involving Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia and, perhaps later, drawing in Czechoslovakia and, eventually and most crucially, Poland.
It was in the course of this war that the US got Germany to relinquish this plan and instead accept one of expanding NATO eastwards, and for Germany this meant EU expansion.
However, the Europeans returned to elements of this vision again in their moves toward a common security policy and greater autonomy in military matters, as well as through initiatives like the Nord Stream II gas pipeline with Russia.
These initiatives would have only strengthened with the United States sinking into a mire of its own decline – witness not only Washington’s failure in Afghanistan, but also the 6 January, 2021 assault on the Capitol, and the resurgence of an inflation, thanks to its puny productive capacities, that threatens to choke off an already paltry recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thus the demise of these European initiatives appears dramatic. Although the keyword here may be “appears.” It is anyone’s guess whether projects of European autonomy are dead, or only temporarily knocked out. The Europeans’ reliance on Russian energy cannot be wished away.
Sacrificing Ukraine to advance US geopolitical interests
Even while enjoying such seeming geopolitical victories, the United States refuses to provide Ukraine any real support beyond the verbal and the lucrative – praising Ukrainians’ courage and selling them arms.
For all the propaganda advantages it is drawing from the war, the US refuses even a no-fly zone to Ukraine. Not that one is encouraging Washington to provide one: doing so would escalate the danger of a nuclear war massively.
One can, however, note the hypocrisy and irresponsibility of encouraging Ukraine to refuse to negotiate and instead persist in a war that cannot be won, prolonging the conflict so more propaganda and business advantages can be won. That is the real war crime, which the US will escape with unless the public is alerted to it.
Indeed, it gets worse: The United States is encouraging Kiev to refuse to negotiate, even though the outcome of the negotiations – which must will resemble something like the Minsk accords – can only be good for Ukraine and its people.
Instead, the US is pushing Kiev to indulge in the worst practices, including arming civilians, so as to incite confusion, looting, marauding, and even killing of Ukrainians by Ukrainians, ensuring conflict continues.
Indeed, as I have argued, the US wants the Ukraine conflict to fester
Biden called Putin a “war criminal” on March 16. While the Kremlin naturally considered this “unacceptable and unforgivable,” the more important point was the timing of this allegation. It came just when, after many attempts, and thanks to the effectiveness of Russian operations in destroying Ukrainian military infrastructure, the previous two days had registered signs of progress in talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials on an agreement to end the conflict.
President Volodymyr Zelensky had signaled his acceptance that Ukraine will not be part of NATO; Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed hope that “some parts of a possible peace deal with Ukraine,” including its neutral status, were being seriously discussed, along with security guarantees; and Zelensky also pronounced the peace talks “more realistic.”
After Biden’s accusation, Zelensky demanded more military support from the US Congress, Biden announced another $800 million in military aid, including longer range anti-aircraft systems, ammunition, and drones, which he said were the United States’ “most cutting-edge systems.”
Biden warned that “this could be a long and difficult battle,” reiterating the US commitment “to give Ukraine the arms to fight and defend themselves through all the difficult days ahead.”
It is a sign of the difficult choices Europe has had to make in this conflict that even the most loyal US mouthpiece across the Atlantic, Britain’s The Guardian, had to demur: “declaring someone a war criminal is not as simple as just saying the words.”
Meanwhile, it is useful to consider Ukraine itself. There has been attention to the racism of reporters, opinion columnists, and policy-makers, and even many ordinary citizens of Western countries who favour refugees from Ukraine, along with the racism of some Ukrainians, who keep underling how “European” they, their country, and their cities are. Unacceptable as this is, however, it does not exhaust the racism that is at work in the Ukraine conflict.
Those rightly decrying the aforementioned racism do not appear to realise that, ultimately, racism is also the consolation prize that poor whites receive from white elites, the prize that permits the latter to consolidate support among the former, whose economic subordination continues or even gets worse.
What Ukrainians can hope to have in the embrace of the West, if they ever get there from the conflict into which the West has landed them, will be an even lesser version of the fortunes enjoyed, or should we say suffered, by other countries of the former communist East and the post-Soviet space.
Under the tender mercies of the IMF, World Bank, EU, and US, what remains of Ukraine’s industry will be gutted to eliminate competition to Western corporations.
They will take over the most lucrative parts of the Ukrainian economy, buy up their land, and exploit their natural resources and cheap labour in situ.
Bereft of properly functioning economies, the people of these countries will then be offered the dubious privilege of travelling throughout the continent of Europe so that, ex situ, they can earn low wages as farm and service sector workers – and yes, consider themselves white and European as a consolation prize.
Even that is of dubious value since their economic subordination is sure to breed, and has already bred, new forms of racism.
Promises of NATO membership in 2008, followed by offers of EU membership, have only ever offered Ukrainians the dubious privileges of decreasing their security to enhance the international aggression capabilities of the West, and permitting the devastation of their economies by the EU.
Unfortunately, lacking well-organised left and progressive forces, Ukrainians have not been able to reverse the coup organised by the West after the so-called Euromaidan revolution, or rather counter-revolution, of 2014.
Crimeans, who had wanted to be part of Russia ever since the Soviet Union disintegrated, took this opportunity to leave, and were re-integrated into Russia.
Meanwhile the eastern provinces of Ukraine’s more industrialised Donbas broke away in popular revolutions designed to preserve their economies from EU-organised devastation, and their languages and cultures from neo-nationalist and neo-Nazi assault from a Kiev government that had become dependent on these forces.
The massacre of unionists in Odessa in 2014 was a clear sign of what they had coming. And the continuing assault from Kiev, by Ukrainian army regulars as well as neo-Nazi forces, over the past eight years ensured an unrelenting civil war.
Meanwhile, the United States pressured Kiev to ensure that the Minsk Accords, brokered by the Germans and the French, were not implemented.
Ukrainians could hardly fail to notice these dismal developments, and elections five years after the 2014 coup ejected the corrupt, predatory, and vicious Euromaidan regime.
This gave rise to Zelensky, a former comedian, because he had promised, inter alia, to deal with corruption, implement the Minsk accords, end the civil war, and improve ties with Russia.
However, the hope aroused by his election was soon extinguished. It did not take long for the US to bring the politically rudderless Zelensky under its thumb, and since then his government has been behaving much more like the standard Euromaidan regime in Kiev.
Zelensky pursued economic policies supporting an oligarchical capitalism worse than Russia’s, continued the civil war in the east and, in recent months, supported the West to the hilt in its orchestrated campaign to increase tensions with Russia, including by intensifying the assault on the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.
The consequences of the West’s economic war on Russia
How will the conflict unfold? The United States’ sanctions campaign won some early victories. However, despite making Russia the most sanctioned country in the world – taking over from Iran – and despite the unrelenting propaganda to delegitimise Putin, it appears unlikely to succeed in motivating Russians to rise up against him.
Indeed, over the past eight years, Moscow had built up considerable resilience against sanctions. Agricultural sanctions, for instance, have prompted Russia to turn its agricultural sector around, and it has become one of the major agricultural exporters in the world.
Moreover, oil and gas prices are through the roof, which means Moscow will have a steady stream of income.
Secondly, there is also China as a trade and investment partner, and Beijing’s ties with Moscow have only grown stronger over the years, particularly as US behaviour has become more unreliable and erratic.
Thirdly, sanctions are a double-edged sword. They also hurt the sanctioners.
With oil and gas prices skyrocketing, inflation is also rising. Russia is a major exporter of fertilizer and food.
Western banks are cooperating with Russian efforts to pay the coupons on its bonds despite the freezing of its central bank reserves.
As I have argued, the freezing of the Russian central bank’s reserves
– the real mother of all sanctions – is only going to undermine the US-centred financial system on which the US dollar’s international role relies, making alternatives such as the euro and the yuan more attractive.
Finally, Russia is yet to announce counter-measures, beyond its demand that the West pay for its gas in rubles.
If the US and EU nations can effectively steal the property of Russian citizens and entities, what is to prevent Russian from seizing those of citizens and entities of these countries?
In general, sanctions are transforming the gradual process of the shift in the world economy away from the US and toward the division of the world into a declining and decaying US-centred camp and an advancing China-centred one.
In this setting, as far as I can tell from sources that do not subscribe to the anti-Putin hysteria whipped up by the West, and from what it has been possible to parse while Russian operations are still ongoing, Moscow is indeed seeking what it says – demilitarization and denazification and a neutral Ukraine.
Putin cannot by any stretch of the imagination think he can occupy Ukraine, and there is no evidence that he wishes to. Nor does it appear that “taking Kiev” is part of his plans.
As I see the conflict on the ground, the Russians are methodically focusing on destroying Ukraine’s military capability. What the West calls the slowdown in the Russian advance is due to that.
There is some reason to believe that this is complicated by the fact that the neo-Nazi forces who have infiltrated the army are making it systematic policy of using civilians as human shields.
Russians are also focusing on strongholds of the neo-Nazis such as the southeastern city of Mariupol. If the operation is going on longer than expected by the Russians themselves, it may be because of the complexities of denazification.Putin has long resisted
taking the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. However, now he may have to shoulder greater responsibility for them than he would have chosen.
So the further loss of territory for Ukraine is inevitable. The only question is how much.
In understanding how and why this will occur, we need only consider how the territory of the Ukraine of 2014 came to be.
It is entirely possible, however, that the Russians may not be able to achieve their stated aims or may botch them. After all, the Russian military and its command are not infallible.
While demilitarization is being achieved, denazification may remain an elusive goal, particularly in view of the normalization of the neo-Nazi presence in Ukraine by the West. (Zelensky invited members of the neo-Nazi Azov regiment to speak alongside him in a video address to the Greek parliament, for instance.)
The morale of Russian troops who are being ordered to fight against a people who are not only metaphorically but often literally their cousins is not assured. And the opposition within Russia to a war that is distressing for the same reasons may mount.
I do not know a single Russian who is not distressed by this conflict.
The road to peace: Stop US imperialism and abolish NATO
Let me conclude by asking the burning question of this conflict: What is the road to peace?
The answer is unequivocal: Stop US imperialism, end NATO, and implement whatever version of the Minsk agreement that is possible today, after so much damage has been done.
Only if the US and its allies recognise the legitimate security concerns of those it has attacked ceaslessly for decades, if not over a century, can a just basis for world peace be created, out of the ashes of the post-war compromises which led to a UN Charter that the US now hypocritically and shamelessly refers us to, but long ago tore up.
More positively, one can do a lot worse than the five-point position endorsed by China
1. China maintains that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected and protected and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter abided by in real earnest. This position of China is consistent and clear-cut, and applies equally to the Ukraine issue.
2. China advocates common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. China believes that the security of one country should not come at the expense of the security of other countries, still less should regional security be guaranteed by strengthening or even expanding military blocs.
The Cold War mentality should be discarded completely.
The legitimate security concerns of all countries should be respected.
Given NATO’s five consecutive rounds of eastward expansion, Russia’s legitimate security demands ought to be taken seriously and properly addressed.
3. China has been following the developments of the Ukraine issue closely. The current situation is not what we want to see. The top priority now is for all parties to exercise the necessary restraint to prevent the current situation in Ukraine from getting worse or even getting out of control.
The life and property safety of civilians should be effectively guaranteed, and large-scale humanitarian crises, in particular, must be prevented.
4. China supports and encourages all diplomatic efforts conducive to a peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis. China welcomes the earliest possible direct dialogue and negotiation between Russia and Ukraine.
The Ukraine issue has evolved in a complex historical context. Ukraine should function as a bridge between the East and the West, not a frontier in big power confrontation.
China also supports the EU and Russia in entering into equal-footed dialogue on European security issues and implementing the philosophy of indivisible security, so as to form eventually a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism.
5. China believes that the UN Security Council should play a constructive role in resolving the Ukraine issue, and give priority to regional peace and stability and the universal security of all countries.
Actions taken by the Security Council should help cool the situation and facilitate diplomatic resolution rather than fueling tensions and causing further escalation.
In view of this, China has always disapproved of willfully invoking of UN Charter Chapter VII that authorizes the use of force and sanctions in UNSC resolutions.
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