Xi ‘putting own country at risk’ with Russia support strategy: ‘Will bear responsibility’

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Former CIA Director Leon Panetta has reacted to reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking the backing of Chinese leader Xi Jinping in the Kremlin’s row with the West over Ukraine. The Kremlin has amassed tens of thousands of troops along Ukraine’s border with Russia sparking fears of an invasion. Mr Pancetta warned that Xi “will bear responsibility” if China is seen to back any aggressive moves by Russia.

Mr Panetta told CNN: “Well, you know, there there are two positions going on here.

“One is the Russian position, which is military action, a military threat to invade a sovereign country in the United States and our allies have taken another position, which is to try to stress deterrence and the fact that Russia will pay a very heavy price if they decide on military action.”

“And diplomacy in the hope that they’ll be willing to sit down and negotiate a peaceful solution,” he continued.

“Russia is going to try to get the support of another autocrat in China, President Xi,” added the former CIA director.

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“I think frankly, President Xi is putting his own country at risk here.

“Because if in fact, Putin decides to go to war, and creates the consequences that both intelligence and others are saying will happen, then make no mistake about it.

“Xi will bear part of the responsibility for what’s happening.”

Russia denies it is planning an invasion of Ukraine but US officials say an attack could occur within days or weeks.

China: Xi Jinping issues defiant message to foreign powers

France’s Emmanuel Macron travelled to Moscow in a high-profile bid to act as a mediator between Russia, the US and NATO but failed to make headway with Mr Putin.

Earlier on Tuesday, President Macron defended the outcome of his talks in Moscow on Monday, which brought no major breakthrough.

He told reporters he had never expected “for one second” that Putin would make concessions.

“This shared determination is the only way allowing us to create peace, the only way to create a viable political solution,” Mr Macron told a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Zelenskiy.

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“Calm … is essential from all parties in words and in deeds,” Mr Macron added.

He went on to praise President Zelenskiy for “the sangfroid that you are showing, and which the Ukrainian people are showing, in the face of military pressure on your borders and on your country”.

Mr Zelenskiy, for his part, made clear he was sceptical of any assurances Mr Macron may have received from Putin.

“I do not really trust words, I believe that every politician can be transparent by taking concrete steps,” the Ukrainian leader said.

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