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China expressed opposition to sanctions against Russia and criticized the U.S. for inflaming the Ukraine crisis, suggesting its support for NATO’s expansion had left President Vladimir Putin with few options.

Beijing didn’t view sanctions as “the best way to solve problems,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said Wednesday at a regular press briefing in Beijing. She also criticized the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for placing offensive weapons near Russia, asking whether “they ever thought about the consequences of cornering a major power.”

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