In the UN Security Council on Friday, Russia vetoed a draft resolution by the U.S. and several co-sponsors condemning the Russian military operation in Ukraine and demanding an immediate halt to it. India, China and the United Arab Emirates abstained during the vote.
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In Moscow's view, the document was anti-Russian and anti-Ukrainian in character, designed to save the power that led Ukraine to tragedy.
"I would like to stress that the Ukrainian problem did not arise today and the current situation did not arise suddenly. It is the result of several factors coming together over a long period of time," Zhang Jun said.
The diplomat commented that China stands for a concept of universal security.
"We are convinced that the security of one state cannot be built at the expense of the security of another. In the context of five rounds of NATO enlargements, attention should be paid to Russia's legitimate security interests," the ambassador said.
In Zhang Jun's view, Ukraine should become a bridge between East and West, not an outpost for confrontation between the major powers.
"We call on all to show maximum restraint, de-escalate tensions and avoid civilian casualties... The resolution of the Ukrainian crisis requires us to renounce the cold war mentality and show full respect for the legitimate security concerns of all countries," the Chinese permanent representative to the UN concluded.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in the early hours of 24 February the launch of a special military operation on Ukrainian territory, claiming that the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, already recognized by Russia as sovereign states, had requested assistance in the face of aggression by Kiev.
According to Putin, one of the operation's main objectives is the "demilitarisation and denazification" of Ukraine. The Russian leader also threatened to bring to trial the perpetrators of numerous bloody crimes against civilians, called on uniformed and civilian Ukrainians not to resist the operation, and warned that Russia would respond immediately to any outside force that threatens it or stands in its way.
The Russian defense ministry assured that the military strikes are not aimed at Ukrainian cities and do not endanger civilians but are aimed at disabling the war infrastructure.