The Financial Times (FT) first broke the news on July 5, citing Chinese and Western officials. According to the outlet, the Chinese leader made the remarks during his visit to Russia in March. FT's sources said Chinese officials are using the conversation to boast Beijing's ability to stop Moscow's threats of nuclear warfare, with a senior U.S. official saying "the Chinese are taking credit for sending the message at every level."
Josep Borrell, the European Union's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, remarked that China's visit to Russia "reduces the risk of nuclear war and they have made it very, very clear."
A former Chinese government official attested to the conversation between Xi and Putin, adding that Beijing's stance against nuclear weapons was included in its 12-point position paper on peace in Ukraine. An incumbent senior advisor to Beijing agreed with the former official. They added that deterring Putin from using such a weapon has been central to China's campaign to repair damaged ties with Europe.
According to the senior advisor, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war is undermining China's effort to court Europe. If Moscow launches a nuclear strike on Ukraine or one of its European allies, it would risk turning the entire continent against China.
Concurring with the Chinese senior advisor, a third official privy to the talks remarked that if Russia were to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, "it's all downside for China."
Meanwhile, the Kremlin denied the conversation between Xi and Putin.
"No, I can't confirm it," Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters. He added that both nations have issued official accounts of what went on during the talks, and "everything else is fiction" – including FT's report.
"Russia has never [had] and will never have China's approval for using nuclear weapons, said Renmin University of China international relations professor Shi Yinhong. He added that if Moscow does use them against Kyiv, "China will further distance itself from Russia."
Those concerned with Putin using nuclear weapons can rest easy for now. According to people close to the Kremlin, Putin decided against using these weapons after projecting scenarios resulting from their use.
Putin ruled that the use of nuclear weapons would not give Russia an advantage and would do little to help Russian forces advance on the battlefield. A nuclear strike was also likely to turn the territories Moscow has claimed into irradiated wastelands.
Early this year, China called for a ceasefire and peace talks between Ukraine and Russia. The 12-point proposal from Beijing issued in February 2023 condemned threats of nuclear force, urged an end to "unilateral" sanctions on Moscow and called for the "territorial integrity of all countries to be respected." (Related: Peace talks over Russia-Ukraine conflict could be held as soon as July, German media reports.)
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the proposal at that time. It added that it shares China's ideas outlined in the proposal, including the rejection of Western sanctions.
Ukraine likewise welcomed Beijing's efforts to broker peace. However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky emphasized that success would depend on actions and not words.
"I believe that the fact that China started talking about Ukraine is not bad," he said during a news conference then. "But the question is what follows the words. The question is in the steps, and where they will lead to."
Visit NuclearWeapons.news for more stories about Russia's possible use of these arms against Ukraine.
Listen to the New American's Ben Armstrong as he explains why China won't invade the U.S. until after it is hit with Russian nuclear weapons.
This video is from The New American channel on Brighteon.com.