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Ukraine war latest: Baltic states and Bulgaria expel Russian diplomats

James Politi and Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington, John Reed in Lviv, Max Seddon in Riga and Edward White in Seoul

Xi Jinping warned Joe Biden against imposing “sweeping and indiscriminate sanctions” during a lengthy call on Friday as China’s leader fended off the threat of retaliation from Washington over its stance on the Ukraine war.

The conversation marked a pivotal moment in the diplomatic efforts to end Russia’s war against its neighbour, with US officials warning that they were ready to punish China if it assisted Vladimir Putin’s military assault.

According to an account of the call from Beijing, Xi asked Biden for a “cool-headed and rational” approach to the conflict, stressed that “the Ukraine crisis is not something we want to see”, and said that the US and China “must shoulder our share of international responsibilities and work for world peace and tranquility”.

But China’s leader also lashed out at the economic punishment that the US and its allies have imposed on Russia in response to the war, and could be extended to other countries, including China, if they side with Moscow.

“Sweeping and indiscriminate sanctions would only make the people suffer. If further escalated, they could trigger serious crises in global economy and trade, finance, energy, food, and industrial and supply chains, crippling the already languishing world economy and causing irrevocable losses,” Xi said, according to the Chinese account of the call.

He added: “The pressing priority is to keep the dialogue and negotiation going, avoid civilian casualties, prevent a humanitarian crisis, and cease hostilities as soon as possible.”

According to a White House account of the call, Biden “described the implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia as it conducts brutal attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilians” while saying he supported “a diplomatic resolution to the crisis”.

Read more on the Biden-Xi call here

Read More: Ukraine war latest: Baltic states and Bulgaria expel Russian diplomats

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