War in Ukraine: Zelensky wants a meeting with Xi Jinping to discuss China’s peace plan


President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that he plans to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping to discuss Beijing’s proposals to end the war in Ukraine.

Speaking on the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion, he said the proposal showed China was engaged in the pursuit of peace.

“I really want to believe that China will not supply weapons to Russia,” he said.

China’s plan calls for peaceful negotiations and respect for national sovereignty.

However, the 12-point document does not specifically say that Russia should withdraw its troops from Ukraine, nor does it condemn the use of “unilateral sanctions”, which is seen as a veiled criticism of Ukraine’s allies in the West.

Chinese authorities have so far not publicly responded to Mr. Zelenskyi’s call for a high-level meeting with Mr. Xi.

Meanwhile, Russia welcomed China’s peace proposals. “We share Beijing’s views,” the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said in a statement.

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Beijing was considering supplying arms and ammunition to Russia – a claim Beijing strongly denies. On Friday, American media reported again that the Chinese government is considering sending drones and artillery shells to Moscow.

Asked about the Chinese plan, US President Joe Biden told ABC News on Friday: “[Президент Росії Володимир] Putin applauds it, so how can it be useful?

“I didn’t see anything in the plan that would indicate that there is anything that would be beneficial to anyone other than Russia,” he added.

China appears to be siding with Russia, although it would like to find a way to save President Putin by negotiating some face-saving peace deal, says BBC World Affairs editor John Simpson.

The Chinese proposals followed a visit by the country’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, to Moscow, where he met with President Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday.

After the talks, China’s state news agency Xinhua quoted Mr Wang as saying Beijing was ready to “deepen political trust” and “strengthen strategic coordination” with Moscow.

Western officials met the latest proposals coolly. NATO head Jens Stoltenberg said that Beijing “does not have much credibility” because it “failed to condemn the illegal invasion of Ukraine.”

President Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, and Russian forces made significant advances in the first few days in northern, eastern, and southern Ukraine.

But soon the attack on the capital Kyiv was repulsed, and later the Ukrainian military was able to return significant territories.

The conflict — Europe’s largest since World War II — has since turned into a brutal war of attrition.

See: A year of war in Ukraine in 87 seconds

At a lengthy press conference in Kyiv on Friday, Mr. Zelensky also said that victory “will inevitably await us” if the allies “keep their promises and deadlines.”

Poland stated that it has already delivered four German-made Leopard II tanks to Ukraine and is ready to deliver more. Germany said it would provide 14 Leopard tanks, while Spain and Canada would also send tanks.

The United States, Ukraine’s largest provider of military aid, has pledged to send 31 of its M1 Abrams tanks, while the United Kingdom is providing 14 Challenger 2 tanks.

The Ukrainian leader added that his country had failed to cooperate sufficiently with countries in Africa and Latin America after many countries on those continents abstained during a vote at the UN General Assembly on a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion.

“We worked poorly for many years, did not pay attention, I think this is a big mistake,” he said.

Asked if he could name his worst moment in the war, Mr Zelenskyy said it was Bucha, a town outside Kyiv where Russian troops are accused of killing civilians at the start of the war. The small town was under Russian control until Ukrainian forces fought back last April to retake it.

“What I saw. It was terrible,” Mr. Zelenskyi was visibly moved.

The US marked one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by announcing a new set of sanctions against Russia and new aid for Ukraine.

The latest restrictions target more than 100 organizations both in Russia and around the world, including banks and military equipment suppliers. The US has said it wants to stop those helping Russia use loopholes to obtain sanctions material.

The new round of White House aid for Ukraine is $12bn (£10bn), including $2bn from the Ministry of Defence, including munitions and drones, and $10bn from the State Department, including budget support for the Ukrainian government.

Another $550 million will be provided to Ukraine and neighboring Moldova to strengthen their energy infrastructure.

Moldova is the poorest country in Europe, which was badly affected by the war. Its leaders have been warning for several weeks that Russia is planning to seize power.

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