China has called on Western countries to refrain from sending offensive weapons to Ukraine, warning that such deliveries will only escalate the ongoing conflict and worsen the humanitarian crisis in the country.
Zhang Jun, the Chinese ambassador to the UN, made the remarks at a UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine on Tuesday, as the United States and NATO have vowed to flood Ukraine with weapons.
"Continuing to send more offensive weapons will not bring peace. It will only prolong and escalate the conflict and further aggravate humanitarian catastrophe," Zhang said.
He said all parties to the conflict in Ukraine should strictly comply with international humanitarian law, adding that every effort must be made to reduce the harm to civilians.
"China once again calls on all parties to the conflict to exercise maximum restraint, strictly abide by international humanitarian law, protect civilians and civilian facilities, and facilitate evacuation and humanitarian assistance operations," the envoy said.
The Chinese diplomat added that the parties concerned should "strengthen communication on humanitarian issues," including on the opening of humanitarian corridors and organizing the safe evacuation of personnel.
Zhang said the fundamental way to resolve the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is to put an early end to the conflict, urging Moscow and Kiev "to adhere to the general direction of dialog and negotiation, continuously narrow differences, and accumulate conditions for a ceasefire."
The envoy also said the international community should eliminate the negative impact of sanctions, pointing out that "arbitrary freeze of foreign exchange reserves of other countries constitutes a violation of sovereignty, and is tantamount to weaponizing economic interdependence."
He called for an end to such practices, saying they "undermine the foundation of world economic stability and bring new uncertainties and risks to international relations."
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military offensive against Ukraine on February 24. The conflict has provoked a unanimous response from Western countries, which have imposed a long list of sanctions on Moscow. Russia says it will halt the operation instantly if Kiev meets Moscow's list of demands, including never applying to join NATO.
On April 7, Ukraine called on NATO to provide Kiev with all the weaponry it needs to fight Russia.
Moscow has repeatedly warned NATO against sending more weapons and troops near Russia, and some NATO members have cautioned that such moves would drastically escalate tensions.