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China’s Xi Jinping Calls Ukraine’s Zelenskyy Following Weeks of Pressure

By Kevin Zhang

Chinese president Xi Jinping called Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, over a month after meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Moscow.  

Xi made the call to Zelenskyy after weeks of intensifying pressure from various Western leaders to use his influence with Putin to negotiate an end to the war in Ukraine, which began with Russia’s invasion in late February 2022. 

It was the first call between Xi and Zelenskyy since the Russian invasion began, according to the Ukrainian government. China said the call occurred on Wednesday at the invitation of Zelenskyy. 

Zelenskyy said on Twitter that the call was “long and meaningful”. He later wrote, on Telegram, that the hour-long conversation focused in particular “to the ways of possible cooperation to establish a just and sustainable peace for Ukraine.”

He mentioned that China was Ukraine’s top trading partner before the invasion, and the call serves as a “powerful impetus” for the countries’ relations.

Zelenskyy’s office later announced the appointment of Pavlo Riabikin as Ukrainian ambassador to China, a post that has been left vacant since 2021 following the death of Ukraine’s last ambassador to China.

A Chinese government statement after the call said it will send special representatives to Ukraine and other countries to have in-depth discussion with all parties on the possibility of a political settlement in Ukraine. 

“As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible major country, China would not sit idly by, nor would it add oil to the fire, still less exploit the situation for self gains. No matter how the international landscape changes, China is willing to work with the Ukrainian side to move forward the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries,” the Chinese government said.

China also reiterated its stance against the use of nuclear weapons. “There is no winner in nuclear wars. On the nuclear issue, all relevant parties must stay calm and exercise restraint, truly act in the interests of their own future and that of humanity, and jointly manage the crisis,” the Chinese government said Xi told Zelenskyy.

About Kevin Zhang

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