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War in Ukraine. Why does China support Russia? OSW expert on Beijing’s strategic calculation

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Losing the war in Ukraine by Russia would ridicule and ultimately undermine the legitimacy of the Putin regime. This would be a strategic challenge for China, as it could cause chaos in the entire post-Soviet area, assessed the deputy director of the Center for Eastern Studies, Jakub Jakóbowski. He added that it would also be an ideological challenge due to the close relations between the two countries.

Deputy Director of the Center for Eastern Studies, Jakub Jakóbowski, PhD, in an interview with PAP, when asked about China’s approach to war in Ukraine noted that in his opinion, China’s strategic calculation is based on the fact that “Russia can’t lose this war.”

>> War in Ukraine – report on tvn24.pl

– A weak Moscow, a loser, willing to talk and perhaps even make deals with the West would be a serious problem for the Chinese – he said. – Russia is today the only state with such close relations with Chinawhich also has the potential, albeit probably less than it was estimated a year ago, to actually be China’s ally in the USA between Europe and the Pacific.

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Losing the war by Russia would ridicule and ultimately undermine the legitimacy of Putin’s regime, which would be a strategic challenge for China related to the unfavorable chaos that could prevail in the entire post-Soviet area, noted the expert.

Russian soldiers Shutterstock

An ideological challenge for Beijing

Jakóbowski assessed that such a development would also pose an ideological challenge due to the fact that the leader of China Xi Jinping “He invested a lot in relations with Putin.”

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– Suffice it to say that on February 4, 2022, just before the invasion, Xi and Putin announced their vision of the world, in which countries such as China or Russia have the right to shape security in their own region, but also that they are two states that are fighting together for a genuine democratization of international relations. Behind this is the belief that authoritarian regimes such as Russian or Chinese should be able to resist what they consider a Western attack, i.e. democracy as an attempt to overthrow regimes, the expert explained.

For this reason, according to the deputy director of OSW, the collapse of the Putin regime as a strategic and ideological ally is “very bad news” for China.


Why does China support Russia? Expert on the “diplomatic double game”

When asked about the scenario in which both Russia and the US, together with Western countries, will be involved in a long-term war on Ukraine, Jakóbowski stated that it would be beneficial for China in a simple calculation.

– I believe that this is where the support that China gives to Russia comes from. The USA and the West are more widely connected economically, economically and militarily in Europe, and at the same time Russia, which is weakening and falling more and more into the Chinese orbit of influence. From this point of view, maintaining this course is beneficial for China, he said.

Presidents of China and RussiaGetty Images Europe

Jakóbowski noted that since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Chinese have been conducting a “diplomatic double game”, in which they tried to convince the West of their neutral position, while maintaining a pro-Russian narrative, which has intensified especially in recent months.

– This double game failed for the Chinese, it was impossible to effectively run these two narratives, and to a large extent in Europe the last few months have been a very big turn against China. It is an indication that they are strengthening trade with Russia, investing in this relationship and helping Russia in the propaganda dimension, especially in the global south – he noted.

Main photo source: Getty Images Europe

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