Putin: China peace plan can be basis for settling war in Ukraine

(Update: adds details of Putin-Xi meeting, changes headline, lede)

Moscow, Mar 21 (EFE).- Russian president Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that a peace plan proposed by his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping can be a basis for settling the war in Ukraine.

Last month China unveiled its plan to resolve the conflict, in which Beijing defended Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, but also acknowledged Russia’s “legitimate” security concerns in the face of Nato’s expansion in eastern Europe.

“Many of the points included in the Chinese peace plan (…) can serve as a basis for settling the conflict in Ukraine, whenever the West and Kyiv are ready for it,” Putin said alongside Xi after the pair signed several documents at the Kremlin strengthening their strategic cooperation and trade relationship.

“Although, for now, we do not see such willingness on their part,” the Russian president added.

Xi, who was meeting with Putin for formal talks on the second day of a three-day trip to Moscow – his first since Russia invaded Ukraine over a year ago – thanked the Russian leader for the “warm welcome” and hospitality, describing their talks as “frank, open and friendly.”

After echoing Putin’s references to boosting trade between their two countries in energy, raw materials and electronics, Xi said Beijing was “always for peace and dialogue” to settle the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Talks between the two sides have been frozen since spring 2022, when Turkey attempted to broker a peace.

“I would like to emphasize that in pursuit of the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict we invariably rely on the UN statutes and stick to an objective and impartial position,” Xi said, adding that China is “on the right side of history.”

During informal talks between the pair on Monday, Xi told Putin that “most countries support an easing of tensions,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.

“They want peace and talks to be promoted, and they oppose adding fuel to the fire,” Xi said.

China abstained from voting on a resolution condemning the Russian invasion in the United Nations General Assembly, and although it has not explicitly supported Moscow, it has opposed sanctions against Russia because “it does not solve problems.”

After his visit to Russia, Xi is expected to hold talks with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy via video conference.

While Kyiv has welcomed China’s attempts at mediation, it has warned that Russia must first withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory before the peace plan can be implemented, alluding to the fact that Beijing’s plan does not address Moscow’s illegal annexation of four regions in eastern and southern Ukraine. EFE


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