The US announced Monday it would put trade and investment talks with Russia on hold. It also suspended military ties with Russia. US President Barack Obama condemned Russia's violation of Ukrainian sovereignty, and said Russia is "on the wrong side of history," warning that the US and its allies are examining steps to "isolate" the country.
Russia's diplomacy is facing more challenges than in 2008 when it sent troops into Georgia over the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This time the burning point is Ukraine, the second largest country in Europe. The rivalry will determine the strategic layout of Europe. The US and Europe will not give up easily.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has sufficient means to ensure his country's advantage in its military actions in Ukraine, but Russia will face long-term pressure from the West. It will feel the effect of isolation by the West. The grand holding of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games shows that Russia still needs the acceptance of the international community.
When the Chinese government needs to practice its diplomatic balance in the situation in Ukraine, Chinese public opinion should firmly stand by Russia and support its resistance to pressure from the West. Such resistance is the real picture of the Ukraine crisis. Russia has no choice when faced with Western pressure.
Some think China's policy of non-interference will be tested in this matter, and that if China supports Russia, it will become ensnared in a diplomatic trap. This is the mentality of the weak. The West has interfered in the internal affairs of many countries, but never admitted it.
We prefer to agree with voices supporting Russia. Russia has been resisting the eastward trend of Western forces in Ukraine, which is important not only to its own fate but also to China's strategic interests. Russia and China are strategic buffer zones for each other. If Russia led by Putin is defeated by the West, it will deal a heavy blow to China's geopolitical interests.
Russia is the comprehensive strategic partner that China can most rely on. In the next two or three decades, no country will be able to replace Russia.
Therefore, China should offer support to Russia. Diplomatically, China can stick to its neutral policy but slightly favor Russia, which can be accepted by many countries and will pave the way for China to play a mediating role.
Meanwhile, China's public opinion can condemn the West's interference in the Ukraine crisis. The world should see Russia's resistance as the dissatisfaction of many countries toward Western powers.
We would like to see the West and Russia compromise. But if the West really sanctions Russia, Chinese society should provide more assistance to Russia, especially economic help. The West has underestimated Moscow's endurance.
Russia's resistance against the West has global significance. Supporting Russia consolidates China's major strategy. As long as this strategy is solid, China's bilateral relations with other countries will not become troubled.
We shouldn't disappoint Russia when it finds itself in a time of need. China should become a reliable strategic partner. This way, we will make more friends.