Beijing —on Wednesday accused the United States of "raising tensions" and "creating panic" over the Ukraine crisis, shortly after Washington announced new sanctions against Moscow and said it would continue to supply weapons to help bolster 's defenses against a potential Russian invasion.
Beijing has trod a cautious line on Ukraine as Moscow has massed thousands of troops along the neighboring nation's borders. China criticized the West for imposing more sanctions after Russia ordered troops into two breakaway Ukrainian regions that Moscow now recognizes as independent.
President Joe Biden earlier stressed that the penalties were only a "first tranche," adding that more sanctions would come if Russian President Vladimir Putin extended his country's military grip beyond the two territories in the eastern Donbas region.
China and Russia have grown closer in recent years as they've become more estranged from the West, and more at odds with the U.S. Earlier this month, Putin traveled to Beijing and met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping as the Russian leader massed forces around Ukraine's borders.
On Wednesday, China lashed out at Washington over the new sanctions against Russia and said it was raising tensions by sending weapons to Ukraine.
The U.S. actions were "raising tensions, creating panic, and even playing up the schedule of war," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.
"If someone is adding fuel to the fire while blaming others... then that behavior is irresponsible and immoral," she added, turning the spotlight on the United States in response to a question on China's role in resolving the situation.
She said China had "called on all parties to respect and attach importance to each other's legitimate security concerns, strive to resolve issues through negotiation and consultation, and jointly maintain regional peace and stability."
Asked if China would impose sanctions on Russia, Hua added that Beijing believes "sanctions have never been a fundamental and effective way to solve problems."
Apart from the United States, Britain, the European Union, Japan and Australia also announced penalties following Putin's announcement that he would send soldiers into Donetsk and Luhansk.
On Tuesday, President Biden said Washington would continue to supply "defensive" weapons to Ukraine against a Russian invasion, and deploy U.S. troops to reinforce NATO allies in Eastern Europe.
"Let me be clear, these are totally defensive moves on our part," Mr. Biden said in a televised speech at the White House.
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