Chinese authorities on Thursday announced the lifting of restrictions on importing wheat from Russia, providing a cold shoulder to isolated Russia amid Ukraine crises.
Russia is the world’s largest exporter of wheat, making up nearly a quarter of the total global supply of wheat.
Amid the sanctions being imposed on Russia by the West and Japan, Chinese customs authorities announced the lifting of import restrictions on Russian wheat.
This decision has come at a point when the whole world is determined to hold Russia accountable for its invasion of Ukraine.
Beijing’s decision has made it a key player with the potential to mitigate the economic damage and undermine the pressure campaign on Russia.
Although the deal was sealed during the talks held between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in early February, the timing of the announcement is interpreted in some quarters as a deliberate attempt to undermine efforts to hold Moscow accountable.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, on Friday, described the move as “simply unacceptable”, accusing Beijing of throwing a “lifeline to Russia in the middle of a period when they are invading another country”.
On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying declined to characterise the actions of Russia as an “invasion” and accused the United States of “fueling the flame” of the crisis.
Hua also said “what you are seeing today is not what we have wished to see”, and expressed hope Russia and Ukraine would “go back to dialogue and negotiation”.