Ukraine, first Xi Jinping-Zelensky phone call since the beginning of the war: Beijing’s move

The Ukrainian president is optimistic about the possibility of using China’s influence. Bild: “Kiev tried to kill Putin”

The one between Xi Jinping and Volodymyr Zelensky is the first telephone conversation between the Chinese leader and the Ukrainian president since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, for 14 months. On February 24, 2022, Russian leader Vladimir Putin launched what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine, 20 days after consolidating an “limitless” understanding in Beijing with Xi.

Contact between Xi and Zelensky was particularly anticipated by Xi’s March 20 visit to Moscow, after Antony Blinken’s missed one in China, following the arrest warrant against Putin from the International Criminal Court. The Chinese media described the visit to Moscow by the Chinese leader – in his third term and accused of supporting the Kremlin – as a “journey of peace”. And Zelensky had solicited contact with Xi, who once again insisted on “dialogue” and “negotiations” as the “only way out” to end the conflict in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian president has expressed optimism about the possibility of using China’s influence in the conflict with Russia. “There is an opportunity to use China’s political influence to restore the strength of the principles and rules on which peace should be based,” Zelensky said in his daily video address released after his phone call with Xi Jinping. “Ukraine and China, as well as the vast majority of the world, are equally interested in the strength of nations’ sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he added. The “long and rational conversation” will give a “strong boost” to the two countries’ bilateral relations, said the Ukrainian leader.

“Naturally, an essential part of the conversation was our views on ways to restore a just peace,” Zelensky added. “I presented the Ukrainian Peace Formula, its specific points. We agreed to continue our communications.”

During the call, Xi announced plans to send a special envoy to Ukraine and other countries to exchange views with all sides on a political solution to the conflict. Chinese state media reported that the president also issued a strong warning against a nuclear escalation of the war in Ukraine and urged all parties involved to remain calm. “There are no winners in a nuclear war,” Xi said.

According to state television, Xi also reiterated that respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity is the political foundation of relations between China and Ukraine. The “complicated development of the Ukrainian crisis” has a strong influence on the international situation.

China is backing Russian President Vladimir Putin in the conflict, a stance that has earned Beijing much international criticism. Several of Ukraine’s Western allies, including the United States and Germany, welcomed the phone call, saying it was a “good sign”. As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, China bears a “special responsibility for ending Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which is contrary to international law,” a government spokesman said.

Bild: “Kiev just tried to kill Putin”

Kiev’s intelligence services allegedly attempted to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin with a kamikaze drone on Sunday. This was stated by the popular German newspaper Bild, according to which the failed assassination attempt was kept hidden by the Russian authorities.

A Uj-200 drone would have been used for the operation, with a range of 800 km. Departing Ukraine on Sunday afternoon, the drone was headed for an industrial park near Moscow, 500km from the border. On Twitter, Ukrainian activist Yuriy Romanenko said that Ukrainian services sent the drone after learning that Putin would go to Rudnevo industrial park in sight.

Indeed, the Russian media reported on a Ukrainian drone that crashed on Sunday near the village of Voroskovo, about twenty kilometers from the industrial park of Rudnevo. Pavel Zarubin, a journalist close to the Kremlin, had reported Sunday morning that Putin was to visit an industrial park in Moscow. However, it is not clear whether the visit was scheduled for Sunday or Monday. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov later said on Monday that Putin did not have any events planned.