State Department spokesman Ned Price said during a daily press briefing on Feb. 23 that every responsible government in the world, including China, should persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to de-escalate the Ukraine issue.

Price expressed “great concern” about the course of China-Russia relations, referring to an improved “no limits” collaboration announced this month by China and Russia, in which they committed to coordinate more against the U.S. and the West.

He said: “We think that Russia and the PRC also want a world order, but this is an order that is and would be profoundly illiberal, an order that stands in contrast to the system that countries around the world have built in the last seven decades. It is an order that is in many ways destructive, rather than additive.”

“So, you’ll have to ask the PRC how they marry that long-standing position with anything less than an effort to use the considerable influence and sway they have with the Russian Federation to urge Vladimir Putin to back down and to de-escalate,” he said.

The U.S. has imposed sanctions on Russia for its operations in Ukrainian territory, the most recent of which targeted the builder of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and its corporate leadership, with the threat of more to follow. In addition, other U.S. partners have retaliated with economic sanctions against Russia.

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