President of Ukraine He invited his powerful Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to visit the war-torn country, saying they had not communicated since the war began and that he was “ready to see him here”.
“I want to talk to him,” Volodymyr Zelensky told The Associated Press on Tuesday, a week after Xi visited Russian President Vladimir Putin last week. China had no immediate response on whether Xi’s visit to Ukraine would take place.
China has been aligned economically and politically favorable to neighboring Russia for many decades, and Beijing has provided Putin with diplomatic cover by officially adopting a stance of neutrality in the war. Xi, a powerful leader who controls the resources of the world’s most populous country, is an important player in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and even China’s lack of involvement is a strong statement.
Zelensky spoke to the Associated Press on a train that is taking him through Ukraine, to cities near some of the fiercest battles and more as his country’s forces successfully repelled the Russian invasion. ap It is the first news organization to travel extensively with Zelensky since the war broke out just over a year ago.
Zelensky has extended invitations to Xi before in recent months, but this explicit invitation to visit comes days after the Chinese leader visited Putin in Russia last week. But the Ukrainian leader said he did not communicate with Xi throughout the conflict.
“We are ready to see him here,” Zelensky said. “I had contact with him before a large-scale war. But for all this year, more than one year, I have had no contact with him.”
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning was asked if Xi would accept an invitation from Zelensky — or if it had been formally extended. She told reporters that she did not have any information to provide. It said Beijing maintains “contacts with all interested parties, including Ukraine”.
Asked whether a meeting between Xi and Zelensky would be helpful for resolving the conflict in Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russian authorities “highly appreciate” China’s balanced position on the issue and “have no right to give any advice” on whether The two must meet. “The Chinese leader himself decides the appropriateness of certain contacts,” Peskov said during his daily phone call with reporters on Wednesday.
Xi’s visit to Russia last week raised the possibility that Beijing might be willing to supply Moscow with the arms and ammunition it needs to replenish its depleted stocks. But Xi’s journey ended without any such announcement. Days later, Putin announced that he would deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, which borders Russia and push the Kremlin’s nuclear stockpile closer to NATO territory.
Zelensky noted that Putin’s move was intended as a distraction from his lack of guarantees Received from China.
“What do you mean? This means that the visit was not good for Russia,” Zelensky speculated.