Xi arrives in Moscow calling for pragmatism on Ukraine war

Chinese president holds talks with Putin, saying his country’s proposal for ceasefire, peace talks reflected views of international community

Russian president Vladimir Putin has told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that his country is "always open" to negotiations around Ukraine. Video: Reuters

Xi Jinping has arrived in Moscow for a three-day visit, calling for pragmatism on Ukraine and promising eternal friendship and mutual co-operation between China and Russia.

Mr Xi, who met Vladimir Putin for informal talks following his arrival, said China’s proposal for a ceasefire and peace talks in Ukraine reflected the views of the international community.

“I have put forth several proposals, ie, observing the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, respect of the legitimate security concerns of all countries, supporting all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of the crisis, and ensuring the stability of global industrial and supply chains,” he wrote in the Russian daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta on Monday.

“There is no simple solution to a complex issue. We believe that as long as all parties embrace the vision of common, comprehensive, co-operative and sustainable security, and pursue equal-footed, rational and results-oriented dialogue and consultation, they will find a reasonable way to resolve the crisis as well as a broad path toward a world of lasting peace and common security.

It would be "unacceptable" if China were to position itself as a peacemaker in Ukraine by promoting a ceasefire, says US national security adviser John Kirby.

China’s foreign minister spoke to his Ukrainian counterpart last week and Western media have reported that Mr Xi will speak to Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy after his talks with Mr Putin.

The United States, Nato and the European Union have questioned China’s credentials as a peacemaker but an accord between Saudi Arabia and Iran in Beijing has raised hopes among some developing countries that Mr Xi could play a similar role in Ukraine.

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Writing in the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, Mr Putin said Russia was open to the political and diplomatic resolution of the conflict.

“It was not Russia who broke off the peace talks back in April 2022. The future of the peace process depends solely on the will to engage in a meaningful discussion taking into account current geopolitical realities. Unfortunately, the ultimatum nature of requirements placed on Russia shows that their authors are detached from these realities and lack interest in finding a solution to the situation,” he wrote.

Destroyed buildings in Siversk, a city north of Bakhmut in the Donetsk province of eastern Ukraine, on March 10th. Photograph: Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

“The crisis in Ukraine, which was provoked and is being diligently fuelled by the West, is the most striking, yet not the only, manifestation of its desire to retain its international dominance and preserve the unipolar world order. It is crystal clear that Nato is striving for a global reach of activities and seeking to penetrate the Asia-Pacific.

“It obvious that there are forces persistently working to split the common Eurasian space into a network of ‘exclusive clubs’ and military blocs that would serve to contain our countries’ development and harm their interests. This won’t work.”

Mr Xi and Mr Putin are expected to sign a number of bilateral agreements during the Chinese leader’s visit and both men stressed the deepening economic relationship between their countries. Mr Xi said the relationship between China and Russia was brimming with vitality, noting that it had not always been so positive.

“Looking back on the extraordinary journey of China-Russia relations over the past 70 years and more, we feel strongly that our relationship has not reached easily where it is today, and that our friendship is growing steadily and must be cherished by us all,” he wrote.

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton is China Correspondent of The Irish Times