Peace talks only way out of Ukraine war, China’s Xi tells Ukraine’s Zelensky

Chinese President Xi Jinping has told his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, the only way to end the war in Ukraine is negotiation between Kiev and Moscow.

According to a report by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV on Wednesday, “Xi Jinping had a phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky,” during which he said “talks and negotiation” were the “only way out” of the war and that “there is no winner in a nuclear war.”

The phone conversation was the first such contact between the two sides since the war began.

“On the issue of the Ukraine crisis, China has always stood on the side of peace and its core position is to promote peace talks,” the report quoted Xi as saying. “When dealing with the nuclear issue, all parties concerned should remain calm and restrained, truly focus on the future and destiny of themselves and all mankind, and jointly manage and control the crisis.”

Zelensky, for his part, said in a statement he had a “long and meaningful” phone conversation with Xi, who has so far been neutral in the conflict.

“I believe that this call, as well as the appointment of Ukraine’s ambassador to China, will give a powerful impetus to the development of our bilateral relations,” the Ukrainian president said in a Facebook post.

The phone call, which was initiated by Kiev and lasted nearly an hour, came two months after Beijing, which has long been aligned with Russia, said it wanted to act as a peace mediator in the war and proposed a 12-point peace plan in February, calling for an immediate “political settlement” to the conflict, and an end to unilateral sanctions on Moscow.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has welcomed China’s willingness to help resolve the war.

The phone call on Wednesday also came a month after Xi visited Moscow.

Russia launched its special operation in Ukraine in February 2022, blaming NATO’s eastward expansion for the war. Moscow views the military alliance’s efforts to make Ukraine a member and to deploy missiles close to its borders as a direct threat to Russian territory.

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