Chinese President Xi Jinping and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had their first phone conversation today(4/26/23) since Russia invaded Ukraine in January 2022. The call, which was initiated by Zelenskiy, lasted for more than an hour and covered various topics, including the ongoing war, trade relations, and China’s role as a mediator.
Zelenskiy expressed his gratitude to Xi for China’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and urged him to use his influence to persuade Russia to stop its aggression and withdraw its troops. He also invited Xi to visit Ukraine and resume bilateral cooperation that was disrupted by the conflict.
Xi reaffirmed China’s position of respecting Ukraine’s independence and pursuing a peaceful resolution of the crisis through dialogue and negotiation. He said China was ready to send a special representative to Ukraine to facilitate talks between Kyiv and Moscow and warned that a nuclear war would have no winners.
Xi also praised Ukraine’s economic potential and expressed his willingness to restore and expand trade ties with Kyiv, especially in the fields of energy, agriculture, and infrastructure. He said China would continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and help with its post-war reconstruction.
The phone call was seen as a positive step by both sides as well as by some international observers, who hoped that China could play a constructive role in easing the tensions between Ukraine and Russia. However, some analysts also cautioned that China’s interests and motives were not necessarily aligned with those of Ukraine or the West and that Beijing’s partnership with Moscow could limit its leverage and impartiality.