Best friend! Putin emboldened to invade Ukraine by gamechanging China support

Ukraine: Putin's crucial weakness exposed

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The Russian president sent shockwaves through the world last week when he declared war on Ukraine. He launched a full-scale invasion of the country in the early hours of Thursday, February 27. UK Defence Select Committee Chair Tobias Ellwood told Express.co.uk that his decision to do so was aided by his relationship with China.

He said that the two countries have been growing closer for “years” but hit out at the West for having “done nothing about it”.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “The evidence has been there for months, for years.

“That there is a progressive alliance developing between these two nations.

“Indeed it was evident from the joint statement they made when Putin, one of the few leaders to attend the Beijing Olympics, expressed a determination to develop a new interpretation of international rule.

“And yet we’ve done nothing about it.

“We’ve not recognised that Putin’s entire emboldened attitude, and aggressive attitude, Putin’s adventurism has been fuelled by the fact that he’s got a new best friend standing behind him.”

Soon after Mr Putin announced the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Minister confirmed that he had spoken with his counterpart in China, Wang Yi.

Mr Yi said that China understands Russia’s “legitimate concerns”.

Mr Ellwood said that a formal alliance between China and Russia would be “gamechanging”, adding: “It takes us into a new era of instability, which points also to why our defence spending, our whole security apparatus needs urgent review.

“The world is getting more dangerous not less.

“And at the moment we are running away from the fight not standing up to it.”

However, he said that the UK’s current package of sanctions, imposed by Western countries on Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine, could be pushing Putin towards an alliance with Beijing.

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Mr Ellwood said: “We’ve tried sanctions, which rarely change the direction of travel.

“History shows that as a method to adequately change events, there are mixed results.

“Certainly, Putin will have factored in what would be thrown at him.

“The biggest fault of the West is failing to understand the bigger picture of where Putin wants to take his country.

“And when you appreciate that he’s looking to pivot Russia away from the West towards China, then the introduction of sanctions simply plays into his own strategy, because he’ll fill the vacuum with trade opportunities with his new friend in exchange for the scale of oil and gas.”

He added: “If Kyiv falls then history will ask why the West didn’t do more.”

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