Putin: China’s plan may end war, but Ukraine and West not ready for peace

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WATCH: Putin and Xi’s ‘dear friendship’… in 62 seconds

Vladimir Putin has said that China’s peace plan for Ukraine could be used as a basis for ending the war.

But Mr Putin said the plan could only be put forward “when the West and Kiev are ready for it”.

The Russian leader met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Moscow on Tuesday to discuss the conflicts and relations between the two countries.

China’s plan, released last month, does not explicitly ask Russia to leave Ukraine.

list 12 pointsIt calls for peace talks and respect for national sovereignty, without specific proposals.

But Ukraine has insisted that Russia withdraw from its territory as a condition for any talks — and there is no sign that Russia is willing to do that.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Monday that calling for a cease-fire before Russia’s withdrawal would “effectively support the assertion of a Russian victory”.

At a joint news conference after talks with Mr Xi ended, Mr Putin said: “Many provisions of the Chinese peace plan can be taken as a basis for resolving the conflict in Ukraine, whenever the West and Kyiv are ready for it.”

But Russia has yet to see such a “product” from the other side, he added.

Standing alongside the Russian leader, Mr Xi said his government was in favor of peace and dialogue and that China was “on the right side of history”.

He reiterated that China has an “impartial stance” on the conflict in Ukraine, seeking to portray Beijing as a peace-making force.

The two also discussed the growing trade, energy and political ties between the two countries.

“China remains Russia’s leading foreign trade partner,” President Putin said, pledging to continue and surpass the “high level” of trade reached last year.

According to Russian state media, the two leaders:

  • Two joint documents were signed – one on comprehensive plans for economic cooperation and one on plans to deepen Russia-China partnership.
  • Agreement was reached on a planned pipeline in Siberia to supply Russian gas to China via Mongolia
  • He agreed that nuclear war “should never be unleashed”.
  • Their concern was discussed in the new Aukus Treaty – a defense treaty between Australia, the UK and the US
  • He expressed concern about NATO’s growing presence in Asia on “military and security issues”.

Concerns are growing in the West that China may offer military support to Russia.

“We have not seen any evidence of China supplying Russia with lethal weapons, but we have seen some indications that this was a request from Russia, and it is an issue that is being considered by Chinese officials in Beijing,” the NATO chief said. Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.

A joint statement issued by China and Russia after the meeting between the two leaders said the close partnership between the two countries did not constitute a “military-political alliance”.

They added that the relations “do not constitute an assembly, are not of a confrontational nature and are not directed against third countries”.

Mr Xi was given a rousing welcome when he arrived at the Kremlin on Tuesday morning for a second day of talks.

He said he was very happy to be in Moscow and described his talks with President Putin as “open, frank and friendly”.

His visit to Russia comes days after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for President Putin on war crimes charges.

President Zelensky said he would join the G7 summit in Japan in May via video link at Mr Kishida’s invitation.

At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, he said he had asked China to join the talks, but was awaiting a response.

“We offered to make China a partner in implementing the peace formula,” he said. “We invite you to a conversation; we await your response.”

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