Ukraine’s Zelensky plans to meet China’s Xi to discuss peace plan
Speaking on the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced his plans to meet his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to discuss Beijing’s proposals on ending the brutal conflict.
China called for ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia on Friday in a 12-point position paper, which Zelensky said signalled that the Asian country was involved in the search for peace, adding “I really want to believe that China will not supply weapons to Russia.”
The peace proposal includes plans to uphold the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both countries, to ensure nuclear power plants are kept safe, and to resume talks of peace.
However, the document doesn’t specifically demand Russia withdraw from Ukraine, and it also opposes ‘unilateral sanctions’ in what is seen as a direct hit at the scores of sanctions imposed by the West following the invasion.
While the Chinese plan has been hailed by Moscow and cautiously welcomed by Kyiv, US officials and some analysts have criticised it. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Beijing “doesn’t have much credibility” since it hasn’t condemned the conflict yet.
The proposal comes days after top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi’s trip to Moscow, during which he pledged a deeper partnership with Russia.
Earlier this week – in a claim strongly rejected by Beijing – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said China was considering supplying weapons to Russia.
The US marked the war anniversary on Friday by announcing new aid for Ukraine and a new range of sanctions against Russia. The latest restrictions target a number of entities both within Russia and worldwide.
Meanwhile, Poland has delivered four German-made Leopard II tanks to the war-torn nation, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Friday. The country was the first to offer to send the battle tanks to neighbouring Ukraine and has been one of Kyiv’s staunchest supporters since the invasion, urging Western nations to ramp up military aid to help Ukrainians turn the tide against Russian troops.