Ukraine sees some benefits in the Chinese peace plan

BEIJING (Reuters) – China on Friday called for a comprehensive ceasefire in Ukraine and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was ready to consider parts of a 12-point peace plan presented by Beijing.

On the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Moscow’s ally China urged both sides to agree to a gradual de-escalation, warned against the use of nuclear weapons and said the conflict benefits nobody.

The plan, outlined in a State Department paper, was largely a repeat of China’s line since Russia launched its so-called “military special operation” on February 24 last year.

China has refrained from condemning its ally Russia or calling Moscow’s intervention in its neighbor an “invasion.” She has also criticized Western sanctions against Russia.

“All parties must remain rational and exercise restraint, avoid fanning the flames and heightening tensions, and prevent the crisis from worsening or even spiraling out of control,” the ministry said in its paper.

The initial reaction from Kiev was dismissive. A senior adviser to President Zelenskyy said any plan to end the war must involve withdrawing Russian troops to the borders that existed when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

Zelensky himself, however, struck a more receptive tone in a press conference marking the first anniversary of the conflict.

Russia said it appreciates China’s plan and is open to using political and diplomatic means to achieve its goals.

However, the proposals cut little ice with NATO.

“China doesn’t have much credibility because it wasn’t able to condemn the illegal invasion of Ukraine,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Tallinn.


Russian President Vladimir Putin has signaled he will redouble the conflict despite heavy defeats on the battlefield over the past year and has raised the specter of nuclear weapons.

China said nuclear weapons must be avoided.

“Nuclear weapons must not be used and nuclear wars must not be waged,” the State Department said. “We oppose the development and use of biological and chemical weapons by any country under any circumstances.”

Since the war began, weeks after Beijing and Moscow announced a borderless partnership, President Xi Jinping has spoken regularly with Putin, but not once with his Ukrainian counterpart Zelenskyy. China’s top diplomat Wang Yi was in Moscow this week for talks.

Brazil’s new President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva stressed the need for a peace deal brokered by outsiders.

“There is an urgent need for a group of countries not involved in the conflict to take responsibility for leading negotiations to restore peace,” Lula said on Twitter.

There was speculation that President Xi would deliver a “peace speech” on Friday, but it never materialized.

(Reporting by Beijing Newsroom and Martin Quin Pollard; Additional reporting by Eduardo Baptista, Max Hunder, Dan Peleschuk, Pavel Polityuk, Bart Meijer, Steven Grattan, and Caleb Davis; Writing by Bernard Orr, Liz Lee, and Keith Weir; Editing by Michael Perry, Kim Coghill, Robert Birsel and Andrew Heavens)


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