Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has announced that he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss Beijing’s proposal to end the war in Ukraine.
Marking the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale aggression, he said the proposal showed China’s commitment to the quest for peace. “I want to believe that China will not supply weapons to Russia,” he said.
China’s plans include peace talks and respect for national sovereignty.
However, the 12-point document does not specifically state that Russia must withdraw its troops from Ukraine, nor does it use “unilateral sanctions,” which are seen as disguised criticism of Ukraine’s Western allies. are accusing. Chinese officials have so far not officially responded to Mr Zelensky’s call for a summit with Mr Xi.
Russia, on the other hand, welcomed China’s peace proposal. “We share Beijing’s views,” the foreign ministry said in Moscow. Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Beijing was considering supplying Russia with arms and ammunition, a move Beijing steadfastly denied. On Friday, US media again reported that the Chinese government was considering sending drones and artillery shells to Moscow.
When asked about China’s plans, US President Joe Biden told ABC News on Friday: “I didn’t see anything in the plan to suggest that there would be anything useful for anyone outside of Russia,” he added.
The BBC’s international affairs editor John Simpson says China appears to be on Russia’s side, but hopes to find a way to save Putin by making a sort of face-saving peace deal. China’s proposal follows a visit to Moscow by the country’s top diplomat Wang Yi, who met with Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday.
After the meeting, Wang was quoted as saying that Beijing was ready to strengthen its “deep political trust” and “strategic cooperation” with Russia, according to state-run Xinhua news agency.
Western officials gave the latest proposal a lukewarm reception. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Beijing was “not very credible” because it “failed to condemn its illegal invasion of Ukraine.” .
Putin launched his all-out invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, and Russian forces made significant advances in the north, east and south of Ukraine in the first few days.
However, attacks on the capital Kiev were quickly repulsed and Ukrainian forces were later able to recapture large areas.
Europe’s largest conflict since World War II has since turned into a grueling war of attrition.
At a lengthy press conference in Kiev on Friday, Mr Zelensky also said victory “inevitably awaits us” if allies “keep their promises and deadlines.”
Poland said it had already delivered four German-made Leopard II tanks to Ukraine and was ready to deliver more. Germany has announced that it will provide 14 of its Leopard tanks, and Spain and Canada have also donated tanks.
The US, the largest provider of military aid to Ukraine, has pledged to send 31 of her M1 Abrams tanks, while the UK is providing 14 of her Challenger 2 tanks.
The Ukrainian leader added that his country failed to properly engage with countries in Africa and Latin America after many countries on those continents abstained in a UN General Assembly vote on a resolution condemning Russian aggression. rice field. ‘We haven’t been working well for years and haven’t been paying attention. I think that’s a big mistake,” he said. Asked if he could name the worst moment of the war so far, Zelensky spoke of the Kiev suburb of Bucha, where Russian forces have been accused of killing civilians early in the war. was under Russian control until Ukrainian forces counterattacked and recaptured it last April.
“What I saw. It was terrible,” Zelensky said, visibly moved by his eyes.
The United States has marked a year since Russia invaded Ukraine by announcing a new set of sanctions against Russia and new aid to Ukraine.
The latest restrictions target more than 100 companies in Russia and around the world, including banks and defense equipment suppliers. The US said it wants to stop those who support Russia from using loopholes to obtain sanctioned material.
A new White House aid round to Ukraine is worth $12 billion (£10 billion), with $2 billion in ammunition and drones from the Pentagon, and budget support to the Ukrainian government from the State Department. Including $10 billion.
A further $550 million will be provided to strengthen the energy infrastructure of Ukraine and neighboring Moldova. Moldova is the poorest country in Europe and has been severely affected by the war. Its leaders have been warning for weeks that Russia plans to seize power.
It was days after U.S. President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Kiev and met with Zelensky.
On Friday, the EU also approved its tenth round of sanctions against Russia, imposing restrictions on technology with dual civilian and military uses