China has called for restraint after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the country's "deterrent weapons" be put on special alert, raising the prospect of a nuclear escalation in the Ukraine conflict.
"All sides should remain calm and exercise restraint and avoid further escalation," Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Weinbin said on Monday in Beijing.
Wang told reporters that China supports all efforts towards easing the situation.
He repeated Beijing's assertion that "Russia's security concern and legitimate appeals should be taken seriously" in the face of NATO's eastward expansion.
Responding to reporters' questions, Wang noted that China and Russia were "comprehensive strategic partners" rather than allies, adding that Beijing decides on "position and policy based on the merit of the matter itself."