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29 Mar, 2023 21:40

Zelensky invites Xi Jinping for a visit – AP

The Ukrainian president has reportedly said he’s “ready to see” his Chinese counterpart in Kiev
Zelensky invites Xi Jinping for a visit – AP

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has reportedly lamented that he hasn’t had any direct talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping since Russia’s military offensive against Kiev began last year, and he wants to rectify the situation.

“We are ready to see him here,” Zelensky said in an interview with the Associated Press published on Wednesday. “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.”

Beijing last month unveiled a 12-point roadmap for ending the Russia-Ukraine conflict, calling for a cease-fire and working toward a “sustainable European security architecture” rather than imposing sanctions and applying “maximum pressure” to force a solution. China has tried to play a “constructive role” in the crisis, resisting US pressure to condemn Russia and join in the West’s anti-Russia sanctions. US officials have dismissed the Chinese proposal as an offer that would help only Moscow.

Zelensky has hosted a parade of Western politicians in Kiev, including US President Joe Biden and three UK prime ministers. He said last month that he was open to China’s peace plan but would only accept a deal that led to Russia pulling all of its forces out of Ukrainian territory.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told reporters on Wednesday that she had no information on whether Zelensky’s regime had actually invited Xi to Kiev. Nor was she able to say whether the Chinese president would accept such an offer.

Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted a milestone state visit by Xi earlier this month in Moscow, reaffirming partnership principles and multiple bilateral deals with Beijing. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin last week called the summit “very troubling.” Officials in Washington have suggested that China is considering sending arms to Russia, saying such a move would have “consequences.”