Kiev, Ukraine—A top Chinese official visited Kiev this month to announce a host of new infrastructure projects and investments in Ukraine, underscoring a burgeoning economic relationship between the two countries that could nudge Kiev away from the West—a scenario that would ultimately benefit Moscow, some say.“Russian-Chinese relations have no reason to diverge over Ukraine, particularly in the short term,” Franklin Holcomb, a Russia and Ukraine analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, told The Daily Signal.“An acceptable end state for both countries would likely be a Ukraine that is under Russian political and military influence, is being rebuilt with Chinese funds, and serves as a conduit for Chinese influence to Europe, where Western influence is minimized,” Holcomb said.Ukraine is at the nexus of a spider’s web of geopolitical interests, including those of Russia, the United States, the European Union—and now China.For its part, Beijing has ramped up its investments in Ukraine to prepare Ukraine’s transportation infrastructure for its role as a portal into Europe for China’s proposed One Belt, One Road overland trade route across Asia.“China has been and still remains our strategic partner and our strategic priority,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said after a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai, who was in Kiev for talks.Keep up with this story and more Following the meeting in Kiev, Kai told reporters, “We consider Ukraine as one of the logistics and industrial hubs on the way to the European Union.”Also known as the “New Silk Road,” the One Belt, One Road initiative is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s foreign policy mantelpiece.Accordingly, Beijing wants Ukraine to become a stable, reliable partner through which Chinese goods can flow into Europe.
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The February 2015 cease-fire, known as Minsk II, has failed.The war is now a low-intensity, static, trench warfare conflict in which, on average, one Ukrainian soldier dies every three days.So far, the war has killed more than 10,200 Ukrainians.Moscow wants to weaken Ukraine economically and politically to forestall its Western pivot—particularly any aspirations of Ukraine one day joining the EU or NATO.
At first take, Russia and China appear to have conflicting interests in Ukraine.
Yet, many experts say that’s not necessarily the case.“China at odds with Russia in Ukraine?