On March 10th, Oleg Ustenko, a top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, described Ukraine’s economic outlook as “very depressed,” in comments from Kyiv to a Peterson Institute for International Economics conference. He said that the only winner of the Russia-Ukraine war was China since Beijing has close trade and political links to Moscow.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Oleg Ustenko told the conference that more than half of Ukraine’s economic activities have been suspended since the Russian invasion, while those barely operating were not fully functioning.
Ustenko said that the Russian army destroyed Ukraine’s infrastructure assets worth some $100 billion.
According to the economic advisor, even financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund and other countries and institutions cannot make up for the battered economic output.
Ustenko added, “The only country that is benefiting from this armed conflict right now is China.”
Oleg Ustenko praised the U.S. ban on Russian oil. He described Russia’s revenue from energy exports as “blood money” and said, “what is really needed to be done is to introduce a full embargo worldwide on Russian oil and gas.”
When asked about China’s role in the Russia-Ukraine war, Ustenko said it was something the Ukrainian government discussed every morning and evening.
Ustenko said Russia’s energy supply to China would increase, and Beijing would become a “connector” for Moscow to the rest of the world.
He said that it will be difficult for Russia to push any international agenda in the next few years, and “the only communicator for them will be China.”
Ustenko said he could not comment on Beijing’s possible political role in the crisis but said, “China is definitely an important player right now.”
On March 10th, when asked about China’s role in the crisis, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian 赵立坚 said: “On the Ukraine issue, China has been independently making decisions in the spirit of objectivity and fairness and based on the merits of the matter itself.”