This week Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba met with Chinese special envoy Li Hui to discuss both countries’ respective peace plans to potentially end Russia’s war in Ukraine. During the talks, Kuleba made it clear that any plan that required Ukraine to cede territory to Russia was a non-starter for Kyiv.
“Ukraine does not accept any proposals that would involve the loss of its territories or the freezing of the conflict,” Kuleba said reaffirming Zelensky’s stance that all Russian forces must withdraw from all Ukrainian territory before serious peace negotiations can begin. According to Kuleba, peace relies on “respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
The Foreign Minister did note that China has played a significant role in preventing the use of nuclear weapons during the war and that its support of the UN/Turkey-brokered Black Sea grain initiative has been invaluable. The grain deal was also just extended for an additional 2 months.
Regardless of its support for Ukraine, China has never fully condemned the war in Ukraine with Chinese leader Xi Jinping referring to it simply as a “crisis.”
Li’s visit to meet with a Ukrainian delegation has come 3 weeks after Xi and Zelensky spoke by phone for the first time. According to Beijing, the purpose of the visit is to “communicate with all parties on the political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis.”
Ukrainian officials, however, are not very excited about “mediation for the sake of mediation” with a senior Ukrianian official saying that “Ending the war with a compromise at the expense of Ukraine will not work.”
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A Chinese statement regarding the meeting said, “There is no remedy to resolve the crisis.”
“All parties should create favorable conditions and accumulate mutual trust for the political settlement,” the statement added.
For its part, Ukraine is concerned that a ‘freeze’ or ceasefire would allow Russia more time to regroup and resupply, which has made Kyiv very leery of any proposed pause to the war that China might suggest, according to Zerohedge. It certainly doesn’t help that Xi is Putin’s largest “friend” and ally, which leaves Kyiv wondering if Beijing’s intentions are pure.
China has its own sensitivities as well with Beijing having condemned statements by observers that have compared Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with China’s harassment of and possible intentions toward Taiwan.
Washington has taken the same approach with both Ukraine and Taiwan, arming both to the teeth to either repel Russia or to hopefully deter a full-force invasion of Taiwan by the PLA.
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