In a recent development that has stirred diplomatic tensions, Beijing has called upon Kiev to provide clarification regarding comments made by Mikhail Podoliak, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. In an interview with the YouTube channel Vlast vs Vaschenko published on Tuesday, Podoliak made remarks suggesting that the governments of China and India lacked the intellectual capacity to discern the true national interests of their respective countries.
“Low Intellectual Potential”
Podoliak described China and India as nations with “low intellectual potential,” criticizing their growing cooperation with Moscow amidst the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. He further accused the two Asian powerhouses, along with Türkiye, of capitalizing financially on the strife between Moscow and Kiev. Podoliak asserted that Beijing would fare better by distancing itself from what he termed an “archaic” Russia, which he claimed was pulling China into unnecessary conflicts.
“They don’t analyze the consequences of the steps they make,” Podoliak said during the interview, referring to the governments of China and India.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Responds
Responding to Podoliak’s comments during a briefing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning urged Podoliak to elucidate his remarks.
“I don’t know the background of this person’s remarks, but he should clarify them,” Mao stated, emphasizing that China has consistently adopted a “responsible” approach towards the Ukrainian conflict, advocating for the cessation of hostilities and a political resolution to the crisis.
Podoliak Clarifies His Statements on Social Media
Later on Wednesday, Podoliak utilized the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) to offer clarification on his earlier statements, suggesting that his words had been misconstrued by Russian media. He maintained that China, India, and Türkiye have a “clearly justified” stance in seeking prominent roles on the global stage, but noted that the “global world is much broader than even the most thoughtful regional national interests.”
“Moscow, with which Ankara, New Delhi, and Beijing maintain ties, is demonstratively trying to undermine the foundations of the global world,” Podoliak explained in his social media post.
A Pattern of Derogatory Remarks
It is worth noting that this is not the first instance of a Ukrainian official making derogatory remarks about Asian nations. In August, Aleksey Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, sparked controversy by implying that Asian people were less humane compared to Europeans, including Ukrainians.
“I’m fine with Asians, but Russians are Asians. They have a completely different culture, vision. Our key difference from them is humanity,” Danilov had remarked.
As the international community watches, it remains to be seen how this series of remarks by Ukrainian officials will impact the country’s diplomatic relations with China, India, and other nations involved. It raises questions about the diplomatic prudence of officials and the potential repercussions on Ukraine’s standing in the international arena.