Since Russia invaded Ukraine, observers have been keeping a close eye on how much support China might lend its isolated partner. Though China has offered a much-needed diplomatic lifeline to Vladimir Putin in the face of Western efforts to make him a global pariah, Xi Jinping’s patience now seems to have worn thin.
The war in Ukraine took a dramatic turn last weekend when the Ukrainian military launched a massive counteroffensive, crystallizing what has been a gradual transformation of the war into a multilateral conflict between Russia and a Western coalition that has supplied arms, training and intelligence to Ukraine.
The IAEA has found itself in the thick of two global political crises—securing a Ukrainian nuclear power plant and enforcing oversight of Iran’s nuclear program. Its chief, Rafael Grossi, has managed both files with dexterity, but his ongoing success will depend on his ability to avoid alienating any of the parties involved.