German Deputy Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who also serves as the country’s energy minister, has called upon China to accept its “increased international responsibility” as an economic superpower and help solve the Ukrainian crisis that has led to Russia’s annexing one of the post-Soviet nation’s larger states.
Reuters reports that Gabriel was in Beijing this week for a diplomatic visit and told reporters that he would take the opportunity of being in China to ask the nation to intervene more actively in assuaging tensions between Ukraine and Russia. “Of course we will ask the Chinese to do justice to their increased international responsibility and to engage in (solving) conflicts, like the one we are experiencing at the moment in Europe between Ukraine and Russia,” he noted, suggesting that he expects China to also play a greater role in other international conflicts.
Germany has taken on an active role in helping Ukraine maintain independence from Russia. Germany’s second-biggest power supplier has promised this month to begin providing gas to Ukraine in the hopes of loosening the grip Gazprom has over Ukraine. While the plan will help the nation in the short term, neighboring countries that could help provide more fuel to Ukraine are hesitant to participate. According to the AFP, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico appeared apprehensive about the idea of selling gas or other fuels to Ukraine given the instability of its economy. “It’s clear that Ukraine is not able to pay its bills,” the Prime Minister said. “Only a third party, like the European Union and European Commission, can guarantee that Slovakia will get paid if we help Ukraine.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also been deeply involved in talks with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Late last month, Putin told Merkel he would scale back the number of Russian troops occupying Ukraine and warned the nation, left to its own devices, could sink into a civil war.
China, meanwhile, has kept its distance from the ordeal. While some within the Chinese government have taken to blaming the United States’s alleged intervention in Ukraine for exacerbating violence there, the government has not provided any stronger language towards any of the parties involved, nor has it publicly lent support to Putin in any explicit way.