Russian leader Vladimir Putin (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brasilia, Brazil, November 13, 2019 (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty)

I joined Turkey’s TRT World on Monday to analyze whether China will give substantial financial and military aid to Russia, enabling Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.

The other panellists are Andrey Kortunov, a former Putin advisor and Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, and Victor Gao of China’s Soochow University.

We consider China’s current position, in light of a 7-hour high-level US-Chinese meeting on Monday and Beijing’s cautious maneuvers as the Russian ground offensive has bogged down.

The official Chinese line of “de-escalation” and “mediation” is the clue that China will not give significant military assistance that Russia might need, at least openly.

And I think that Beijing might be reticent to provide economic assistance while the Russian economy faces what might be a crisis.

There is also a disturbing exchange where Professor Gao threatens China’s “reunification” with Taiwan through “non-peaceful” methods, prompting my firm pushback.

What’s troubling from Professor Gao, especially if it reflects official Chinese thinking, is the idea that China can pursue the military option against Taiwan.

The reality is different, and this might be troubling Beijing. Vladimir Putin was gambling that he could break US, European, and NATO support for Ukraine.

That’s not been the case over Ukraine — and I would hate to see China testing it over Taiwan.

“This Tightens The Squeeze on Putin”

I also spoke with China Radio International on Monday, considering the international sanctions on Russia and the limited options for Moscow if the Ukraine invasion continues.

The sanctions won’t stop the war in Ukraine immediately because as long as Vladimir Putin is determined to try and conquer Ukraine, then the Russian military operations continue.

However, as his military struggles and the Ukrainian resistance persists, this tightens the squeeze on Putin. If he’s not going to stop the war, it might make those around him consider if they should do more to pull this back.

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