China's Xi hints he could turn on Putin as he calls for 'maximum restraint' in Ukraine

Xi Jinping has called for "maximum restraint" as he urged world leaders to prevent the Ukraine war from escalating

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Chinese President Xi Jinping hinted he could turn on his Russian ally as he called for "maximum restraint" in Ukraine saying preventing any escalation of the situation should be made a priority.

Speaking at a virtual meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Xi said the three countries should encourage peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported.

The Chinese leader, who has so far refrained from condemning Putin’s invasion, described the situation in Ukraine as "worrying" and said the priority should be preventing it from escalating or "spinning out of control".

During the meeting, Xi also expressed concern to the European leaders over the impact any further sanctions could have on the stability of global finance, energy supplies, transportation and supply chains.

Yesterday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi emphasised Beijing’s relationship with Moscow in a news conference.

“The China-Russia relationship is valued for its independence,” Wang said. “We are determined [to keep the relationship] free from interference or discord sown by third parties.”

Xi’s comments come as Russia's invasion of Ukraine enters its second week, with the UN saying the number of people fleeing the war has crossed two million — making it the fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War 2.