Ukraine asks China to mediate ceasefire with Russia

China has refused to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine

Joe Middleton
Tuesday 01 March 2022 23:46 GMT
Russian shelling hits Kharkiv outside Soviet-era regional administration

Ukraine has asked China to use its ties with Moscow to convince Russia to stop its invasion of the country.

Foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba made the request of his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in a phone call on Tuesday, according to a statement from the Ukrainian foreign ministry.

The statement said that China’s Foreign Minister told Mr Kuleba that Beijing was ready to make every effort to help end the war through diplomacy.

A Chinese readout, that cites Mr Kuleba, said: “Ukraine is willing to strengthen communications with China, and it looks forward to China playing a mediation role in achieving a ceasefire.”

Mr Wang was also said to have been “extremely concerned about the harm to civilians” in the ongoing conflict.

China has grown closer with Moscow in recent years while also maintaining cordial diplomatic ties and strong trade links with Ukraine. The country has refused to condemn Russia’s attack on the country or to call its actions an invasion.

The call between the two is the first to have been reported since Russia’s attack on its neighbour last Thursday. It was initiated by Mr Kuleba, according to China’s foreign ministry.

Mr Wang repeated China’s call for a solution to the crisis through negotiations, saying it supported all international efforts that could help achieve a political resolution, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.

In January, Chinese President Xi Jinping marked 30 years of ties with Ukraine, hailing the “deepening political mutual trust” between them.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks during a meeting of the UN General Assembly in February (REUTERS)

Ukraine is a hub in the Belt and Road Initiative, a sprawling infrastructure and diplomatic undertaking that binds China closer with Europe.

It comes as Russia warned Kyiv residents to flee their homes on Tuesday and rained rockets on the city of Kharkiv on the sixth day of the conflict.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia must “first stop bombing people” before peace talks could make any headway.

People look at the gutted remains of Russian military vehicles on a road in the town of Bucha, close to the capital Kyiv (AP)

In a joint interview with Reuters and CNN, Mr Zelensky also urged Nato members to impose a no-fly zone to stop Russia’s airforce, something the military alliance has ruled out.

However, Boris Johnson insisted no Nato allies are contemplating heeding Ukraine’s pleas to enforce a no-fly zone over the nation.

Additional reporting by agencies

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