There are some obvious parallels between Ukraine’s situation and Taiwan’s. Both are smaller (though not small) democratic countries right next to enormous, aggressive, nuclear-armed dictatorships—dictatorships whose rulers are fixated on crushing the smaller neighbor in question. To be sure there are a lot of huge differences. For example, Taiwan has never officially claimed to be independent of China, unlike Ukraine which has been independent—and recognized as such by Russia—since 1991. Also, unfortunately for Ukraine, there is not a moat of ocean between Putin and the Ukrainian people like there is between Xi and the Taiwanese. Even so, many commentators have recognized these analogous situations in Europe and Asia and have written about the lessons Taiwan or Communist China might draw from Putin’s war against Ukraine. Despite their oft-repeated statements that they are allies, it isn’t possible to make out any common position or unified China-Russian strategy in Europe or Asia. However, looking at recent Russian and Chinese statements about Ukraine one can see one consolidated theme: Anti-Americanism.
In a recent statement Grigori Zinoviev, the director of the First Asian Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, tried to point out this similarity between the Ukrainian and Taiwanese case:
“What happened in Ukraine has a very similar methodology to how the United States is working regarding Taiwan, because they [the Americans] are pumping it full of their weapons. The same thing happened in Ukraine, … The Westerners are working on using Taiwan against China and using Ukraine against Russia—there is a very clear similarity here. [Although] from the point of view of international law, there are already some nuances there,”
This may be part of a Russian attempt to curry favor with China, presenting themselves as China’s natural ally in the face of American aggression—aggression that takes the form of supporting democracies that Russia and China both despise.