Ukraine. Nelli Feroci: “Xi’s no to nuclear weapons would be a strong signal for Putin”

The president of the Istituto Affari Internazionali discusses with Adnkronos on the expectations for the Chinese leader’s visit to Moscow on Monday. But he is not confident that Xi Jinping can offer himself as a mediator in the conflict in Ukraine-

If Xi Jinping were to reaffirm his no to the use of nuclear weapons in Moscow, “it would be a very strong signal” for Russian President Vladimr Putin. To say it is Ferdinando Nelli Feroci, president of the International Affairs Institute (IAI), interviewed by Adnkronos on expectations for the Chinese leader’s arrival in Moscow on Monday. The visit serves above all to reaffirm Beijing’s solidarity with Russianotes the diplomat, not very confident that Xi will be able to propose himself as a mediator in the conflict in Ukraine.

“There are a lot of expectations for this visit, there is a lot of hope that it could be the beginning of an attempt at mediation on the conflict in Ukraine. Personally – he says – I’m not confident, I have many doubts about the possibility that China actually wants to offer itself as a mediator“.

“The so-called peace plan that China had published some time ago also contains interesting points, such as the reaffirmation of the principle of inviolability of borders, respect for territorial sovereignty. But overall – notes Nelli Feroci – it is a confirmation of points of principle which China has reiterated for some time and some of which certainly do not help the search for a political solution to the conflict. I believe that the visit serves above all to reaffirm China’s basic solidarity with Russia. Also because, despite appearances, all this conflict suits China. Once it has been ascertained that the impact on the world economy has been limited and circumscribed, China has every interest in keeping the United States engaged on the European front. All this leads me to believe that it will be difficult to make progress on resolving the conflict. Although of course I hope to be proved wrong.”

To give an overall judgment on Xi’s visit, “we will need to carefully evaluate the statements published after the meeting and, if there is ever a press conference, carefully weigh the words, especially those of Xi Jinping”, explains the diplomat.

“There are two aspects that are found in the peace plan and that could be of considerable interest – he underlines – One is the reference to the principle of respect for the territorial integrity of the States. For China it means above all reaffirming the principle that Taiwan is part of the People’s Republic. But which if used in a broader sense could also apply to Russian aggression on Ukraine”. “The second point, on which Xi has already been explicit on more than one occasion and which is found in the peace plan, is the no to the use of nuclear weapons. It is a point that is very important for China. If Xi were he to reaffirm it also in Moscow, it would be a strong signal for Putin”, notes Nelli Feroci.

As for the arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court, the diplomat considers it “a further element of international delegitimization” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which “will make the search for a dialogue even more complicated, at least as long as Putin is in the Kremlin” .

According to Nelli Feroci, the issuance of the mandate will not affect Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow, given that Russia and China have not ratified the statute of the Court. “If anything – he notes – there could be a demonstration of solidarity by Xi towards Putin, or a diplomatic silence”.

In his opinion, the arrest warrant “has a very strong reputational political significance”, even if it is not destined “to have an operational follow-up in the short and medium term”. “If Putin ventures into one of the 123 countries that have ratified the statute of the Court, these countries – he remarks – would be obliged to arrest him. But it is also true that in Russia one cannot touch him”.