Putin in 'Life-and-Death' Struggle in Ukraine, China Warns

China said that the invasion of Ukraine has become a matter of "life and death" for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has no option to retreat from the war because of escalating tensions between Russia and NATO.

On Wednesday, the former editor-in-chief of the Global Times, Hu Xijin, penned an opinion piece for the Chinese Communist Party newspaper, writing that because "The determination of the US and the West to defeat Russia is very firm," there is "no turning back other than winning" for Putin.

"In other words, this conflict has become that of a life-and-death nature," he wrote.

Earlier in the day, Putin announced in a rare address to the nation that Russia was expanding its war effort in Ukraine and call up roughly 300,000 reservists. Under the new campaign, citizens with military experience are subject to conscription.

Putin Ukraine Russia China
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting on the military-industrial complex at the Kremlin on September 20, 2022, in Moscow, Russia. Hu Xijin, the former editor-in-chief of the Global Times, said that at this point in the war in Ukraine, there is "no turning back other than winning" for Putin. Getty Images

The "partial mobilization" comes as Russian forces have faced several recent setbacks, including a significant loss in the Kharkiv Province.

In response to the latest developments in Ukraine, Hu called said that neither Russia nor NATO should "intimidate or overwhelm the other."

"Such a clash of wills is very likely to reach a limit point, and at that point, it is possible to use all means available for the victory of one's own side," he wrote, adding that Russia's position as a nuclear power should also be factored into any decisions to intensify relations with Moscow.

"When the war turns to a life-and-death struggle, if the West wants to win the final victory, it needs to transcend the confidence and strength that nuclear weapons have given to Russia," he said.

Hu also said that Ukraine's successful counteroffensive "doesn't mean they can reshape the outcome of the war"—an argument that others believe to be true. On Saturday, Gian Gentile and Raphael Cohen of RAND Corporation, a nonprofit think tank that researches and analyzes the U.S. Armed Forces, wrote that "the battle of Kharkiv has shown Ukraine, Russia, and the world that an outright Ukrainian victory is possible."

On Wednesday, Hu called for a ceasefire and negotiations "rather than an ever-increasing showdown between Russia and NATO."

"Please don't forget that there will be no absolute winner or loser in a military conflict between nuclear powers," he wrote. "Whoever tries to completely overwhelm the other side must be crazy."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to speak to the United Nations assembly on Wednesday afternoon.