Russia’s aggressive military action against Ukraine violates international norms. The air and land assault, ordered by Moscow to eliminate what is claimed to be a security threat, has intensified into what the Ukrainian leadership and its Western allies contend is war. Scores of soldiers and civilians have been killed since the attack began on Thursday and the United Nations has warned of a looming refugee crisis with 100,000 people having already fled to neighbouring countries. A peaceful resolution under the terms of the UN Charter , as advised by President Xi Jinping in a phone call to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin , is the best way forward. Ukraine’s Western allies have responded with a further toughening of sanctions, just a day after existing penalties were tightened following Putin’s ordering of troops into the separatist Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. United States President Joe Biden called Moscow the aggressor and said “Putin chose this war and now he and his country will bear the consequences” . Several Western leaders echoed his words and the secretary general of the Nato security alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, claimed Russia had shattered peace in Europe and was “trying to use force to rewrite history”. But although Nato has agreed to strengthen its land, air and sea forces in countries adjoining Ukraine and Russia, getting involved in the conflict is not an option. Although Kyiv has been promised Nato membership, there is no prospect of that any time soon. Tens of thousands of foreigners are being evacuated from the Ukraine, among them 6,000 Chinese. China has good relations with Russia and Ukraine and both countries are crucial parts of its Belt and Road Initiative. But while Beijing has understandable concerns, its foreign policy of non-interference in the domestic affairs of other nations requires a pragmatic response. Its calls for a diplomatic solution and addressing of Russia’s security concerns should be heeded. But Moscow’s worries about Nato’s eastward expansion and its decades-old rivalry with Washington are not justification for war. Russia, one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council and its current president, attacked as the body was debating how to respond to the crisis. Aggression by one country against another is not in the spirit of the UN. Ukraine gained nationhood after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and has a right to territorial integrity and political independence. Relations between Russia and the West are riven by decades of suspicion and hostility. Moscow has expressed a willingness to talk and efforts have to be made to end the violence in Ukraine and forge a truce. That can pave the way for a renewed diplomatic push to seek lasting peace.