The Biden administration said it is watching China’s President Xi Jinping’s trip to Moscow “very, very closely” as top officials express concerns about any calls for a ceasefire at this time.
“A ceasefire called right now would basically just ratify Russia’s conquest and give Mr. Putin more time to really equip and retrain and restart operations at a time and a place of his choosing,” John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, told Kaitlan Collins during an appearance on “CNN This Morning.”
He said the US would “reject” any calls for a ceasefire out of the high-stakes meeting as he reiterated that it would not be “in China’s best interest” to provide arms to Ukraine.
The Russia-China relationship, Kirby said, is “a marriage of convenience, not of affection.”
“These are two countries that don’t have a heck of a whole lot of trust between one another, but they find common cause in pushing back on the West, in pushing back on American leadership,” he said.
Kirby said the US has not seen any confirmation of a call between Xi and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, but encouraged a discussion.
“If you’re going to go to Moscow, and you’re going to sit down for three days with President Putin, and you’re going to get his perspective on a war that he started, and that he could finish today. You ought to pick up the phone at the very least, and talk to President Zelensky and get the Ukrainian perspective here,” he said.
Kirby downplayed Putin’s weekend trip to Mariupol, Ukraine, noting it was “far away from the front lines of the fighting” in Ukraine.
“It was a convenient excuse for him to go in advance of Xi’s visit to show that he’s still the commander-in-chief, that he’s still in charge, and that his military still has occupied territory inside Ukraine. There’s no doubt that, that he could see for himself — or we would hope that he would see for himself — how badly his military is actually doing where the fighting is actually occurring,” he said.