Blinken and Wang discuss tensions over Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi discussed military tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

The pair spoke by phone on Wednesday as Russia gathered troops along its border with Ukraine, raising concerns about a possible invasion.

The US State Department says Blinken highlighted the global security and economic risks posed by renewed Russian aggression against Ukraine. He was quoted as telling Wang that de-escalation and diplomacy are the responsible way forward.

According to China’s Foreign Ministry, Wang said China called on all parties to “stay calm” and refrain from doing anything that stirs up tension and exacerbates the crisis.

According to the ministry, Wang also stressed that Russia’s reasonable security concerns should be taken seriously and resolved.

The United States and European countries imposed economic sanctions on Russia after the country annexed Crimea in southern Ukraine in 2014. Moscow has strengthened ties with Beijing since the sanctions were introduced.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, indicating he is looking to strengthen ties with China.

Blinken reportedly called on China to play a role in defusing tensions over Ukraine ahead of Putin’s visit to Beijing.