Chinese proposal could be basis for peace in Ukraine, says Putin

Published March 22, 2023
RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a ceremony at the Kremlin on Tuesday.—Reuters
RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a ceremony at the Kremlin on Tuesday.—Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a reception at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia on March 21, 2023. —
Sputnik/Kremlin via Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a reception at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia on March 21, 2023. — Sputnik/Kremlin via Reuters

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Tuesday that Chinese proposals could be used as the basis of a peace settlement in Ukraine, but that the West and Kyiv were not yet ready.

In a joint statement issued at the end of Xi’s state visit to Moscow, the two men cautioned against any steps that might push the Ukraine conflict into an “uncontrollable phase”, adding pointedly that there could be no winners in a nuclear war.

Putin accused Western powers of fighting “to the last Ukrainian”, while Xi reiterated China’s “neutral position” on Ukraine and called for dialogue.

“We believe that many of the provisions of the peace plan put forward by China are consonant with Russian approaches and can be taken as the basis for a peaceful settlement when they are ready for that in the West and in Kyiv. However, so far we see no such readiness from their side,” Putin said.

Japanese PM expresses ‘strong indignation’ after visiting Ukraine

The United States has been dismissive of the Chinese proposal, given Beijing’s refusal to condemn Russia over Ukraine, and says a ceasefire now would lock in Russian territorial gains and give Putin’s army more time to regroup.

Kyiv has welcomed China’s diplomatic involvement but says Russia must pull its troops out of Ukraine, and underlines the importance of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Burgeoning ties

The Kremlin talks were intended to cement the “no limits” partnership the two leaders announced last February, less than three weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine.

They signed a series of documents on a “strategic cooperation” after what Putin described as “successful and constructive” talks showing China was clearly now Russia’s most important economic partner.

“I am convinced that our multi-faceted cooperation will continue to develop for the good of the peoples of our countries,” Putin said in televised remarks.

Xi’s state visit is a major boost to Putin as he squares off against what he sees as a hostile West bent on inflicting a “strategic defeat” on Russia.

In their joint statement, Xi and Putin also called on the United States to stop “undermining global strategic security” and to cease developing a global missile defence system.

While pledging more regular joint military drills, however, the two leaders said their closer bilateral relationship was not directed against any third nation and that it did not constitute a “military-political alliance”.

‘Strong indignation’

On Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed strong “indignation” during a visit to Bucha, a town near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. “As I step foot in Bucha today, and witness all the brutality that took place here, I have a strong sentiment of indignation,” he said.

“All the world is shocked by the atrocity that was committed in the city of Bucha.” Kishida is the last Group of Seven leaders to visit Ukraine.

Kishida visited Bucha ahead of an expected meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“This historic visit is a sign of solidarity and strong cooperation between (Ukraine and Japan),” Ukraine’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova said.

“We are grateful to Japan for its strong support and contribution to our future victory,” she said.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2023

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