A week after Chinese leader Xi Jinping met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has invited Xi to visit Ukraine soon in remarks he made in a recently published Associated Press interview.
“We are ready to see him here,” Zelensky said. “I want to speak with him. I had contact with him before full-scale war. But during all this year, more than one year, I didn’t have.”
This is not the first time that Zelensky has expressed openness towards having Beijing attempt to mediate a peace deal between Moscow and Kyiv. Earlier this month, Zelensky said of China’s proposed 12-point peace plan, “I think some of the Chinese proposals respect international law, and I think we can work on it with China.”
Despite media rumors that a call might take place between Xi and Zelensky during the Chinese leader’s visit to Moscow, no such call appears to have ever taken place.
Since Xi and Putin’s meeting, Zelensky has invited Beijing to agree to a “Ukraine formula” peace plan in which there is a condition that there not be any territorial concessions. While Zelensky has consistently sworn to never concede territory, he has begun to show some doubt about how Ukrainian troops are performing on the battlefield, specifically in Bakhmut, where the fighting is particularly devastating.
Zelensky said this week that if Bakhmut were to fall, Putin could “sell this victory to the West, to his society, to China, to Iran” as a bargaining chip to push for a ceasefire that would inevitably result in Ukraine having to agree to surrender some of its territory.
The possibility of direct peace talks occurring between Xi and Zelensky has Washington worried, although Ukrainian officials have been attempting to ‘assure’ the Biden administration of Ukraine’s steadfastness, with senior diplomats from both the U.S. and Ukraine issuing caution on Tuesday against any alternate peace agreement that pushes for a ceasefire and not the full withdrawal of invading Russian forces from Ukraine. Tuesday’s warning was subtly directed at China and its proposed 12-point peace plan.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said, “I’ll-advised concessions to the aggressor would only encourage Russia to intensify its attacks on democracy, giving it time to rebuild its military capabilities and resume the armed offensive against Ukraine.”
‘NO AD’ subscription for CDM! Sign up here and support real investigative journalism and help save the republic!‘
China’s 12-point peace plan, which affirms the “territorial integrity of all countries” and mentions, without calling out Ukraine directly, “legitimate security interests” in deference to Russia, and pushes for an immediate end to fighting on the battlefield, has been publically cautiously considered by both Moscow and Kyiv. However, reservations regarding the plan still exists for both countries.
Should Russia defeat the Ukrainians in Bakhmut in the near future, it might force Ukraine to give Beijing’s peace plan closer consideration.
With respect to Zelensky’s invitation to Xi, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Wednesday that she does not have any information regarding whether an invitation has been received by Xi, or whether or not he would accept it.
- Bulgaria Joins Hungary And Austria In Neutral Stance On Ukraine
- Putin Meets With Xi – Says Russia Is “Open To Negotiating Process” On Ukraine