File photo – Reuters

Zhang Hanhui, the Chinese ambassador to Moscow, called the US the ‘main instigator’ of the war in Ukraine. He also accused Washington of ‘crushing’ Russia. Al-Jazeera news.

Ambassador Zhang Hanhui said the United States has repeatedly tried to corner Russia by expanding the NATO defense alliance and backing forces seeking to align Ukraine with the European Union instead of Moscow.

In an interview with Russia’s state-run TASS news agency, Zhang said, ‘Washington, as the initiator and main instigator of the Ukrainian crisis, has imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia and continues to supply arms and military equipment to Ukraine. Their ultimate goal is to exhaust and collapse Russia by subjecting it to prolonged war and sanctions.’

The ambassador added that thousands of people have died and entire cities have been destroyed as a result of the war. Also more than a quarter of the population has fled their homes.

In the interview, Zhang said, Sino-Russian relations have ‘entered the best period in history. The highest level of mutual trust, the highest level of interaction and the greatest strategic importance are revealed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Beijing in February to meet with President Xi Jinping. At that time, Russia was only deploying its armored vehicles on the border with Ukraine.

Zhang protested against US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to self-ruled Taiwan last week. He said that the US is provoking conflict through the visit. The most fundamental principle of maintaining peace and stability in the world is non-interference in internal affairs.

Russia claims the invasion of Ukraine as a special military operation. But Ukraine and the West say it is a baseless pretext for imperialist aggression against a neighbor that gained independence after the collapse of the Moscow-led Soviet Union in 1991.