Chinese State Media Warns Russia-Ukraine War 'Spiraling Out of Control'

The war between Russia and Ukraine is "spiraling out of control," according to the former head of a Chinese state-run newspaper.

Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief of China's Global Times, attributed his comment to the continuing threat of nuclear warfare, voter referendums in Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine and mysterious circumstances surrounding the Nord Stream pipeline leaks.

"The deliberate mass destruction of the undersea gas pipelines is an attack conducted out of unprecedented insanity," Xijin wrote in a Global Times op-ed published Wednesday. "It reminds us that there are many oil and gas pipelines going under the sea around the world and even more submarine communications cables. Sabotaging the Nord Stream pipelines is like opening Pandora's box and revealing new horrors within."

He said that energy production remains Russia's "weapon against Europe" in an effort to reduce or eliminate sanctions, so to damage their own pipelines "would be a stupid and self-defeating strategy."

Pressure drops in the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea, both of which supply natural gas from Russia to Europe, were first noticed Monday. The Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which exports natural gas to Germany, suffered two leaks, with another one reported in the currently defunct Nord Stream 2 line, a project thwarted by U.S. sanctions.

Though the pipelines constructed and funded by Russia were not in service at the time, they contained gas under pressure within them. The leaks were detected by Sweden's Maritime Authority and the Danish Energy Agency, which noticed bubbles on the water's surface.

Andrew Baxter, an oil and gas methane emissions expert and director at the Environmental Defense Fund, tweeted that the explosions emitted the same climate impact as the annual emission of 2 million gasoline-powered automobiles.

Putin Xi Russia Ukraine War
China's President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) leaders' summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on September 15. Speculation abounds on the current state of the relationship between the countries, with the former editor-in-chief of China's state-run Global Times saying the war between Russia and Ukraine is "spiraling out of control." ALEXANDR DEMYANCHUK/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

Fox News host Tucker Carlson speculated about whether the Biden administration played any role in the damage, stopping short of making that accusation due to saying the act would be equivalent to "terrorism."

His comments were repeated by Russian state news media, with one commentator joking that another political analyst on his show was "probably communicating" with Carlson on Twitter.

Carlson's speculation may have been spurred by a resurfaced video of President Joe Biden telling reporters on February 7, "If Russia invades, that means tanks or troops crossing the border of Ukraine again, there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2."

Xijin called the timing of the Nord Stream leaks "particularly important," considering they were first detected on the same day as the voter referendums in Ukraine. Those votes were called "shams" by U.S. and Ukrainian officials, and "illegal" by the European Union.

"The destruction of the North Stream line delivers the message of 'opening up a new front' for the war, bringing a strong premonition that the war is expanding and escalating," he wrote. "The destructiveness of the war, which was fought only in Ukraine before, now suddenly extends to the Baltic Sea and the scene has changed—which makes people gasp at the heightened uncertainty of the future."

The current relationship between China and Russia remains unclear. Public actions and optics may contradict what is happening behind closed doors.

Zhang Jun, Beijing's U.N. envoy, told the United Nations Security Council this week that "the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected" and "the legitimate security concerns of all countries should be taken seriously."

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Colonel Tan Kefei said Thursday that both countries would "deepen strategic communication" and "carry out pragmatic cooperation."