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Ukrainian diplomat says China pursues own interests, but could bring about peace

A Ukrainian diplomat on Sunday said China pursues its own interests, but could bring about peace with regard to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war through its mediation efforts between Kyiv and Moscow.

“The Chinese, of course, pursue their own interests. But I do believe that a just, peaceful solution and the end of hostilities are more in Beijing’s interests than this massive, never-ending earthquake (Moscow-Kyiv war) for the entire world order,” Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Melnyk said in an interview with the German daily Berliner Morgenpost.

The idea of China bringing about peace in Ukraine is “not unrealistic,” Melnyk said, noting that the recent phone call between Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping was “a big step forward” in strengthening bilateral ties and ending the war with Russia.

“Of course, the Chinese view on this could be different from ours. For Kyiv, the withdrawal of all Russian troops from the occupied territories is a sine qua non. The devil is in the details, so we’re excited to see what China’s special envoy, who will be joining us soon, will bring,” Melnyk further said.

Zelenskyy and Xi held a phone conversation last Wednesday for the first time since the Russia-Ukraine war started in February 2022, during which Xi said China will send a special representative to the country.

Later in the day, Zelenskyy appointed Pavlo Riabikin as Kyiv’s ambassador to Beijing, according to a statement by the Ukrainian presidency.

Melnyk also responded to questions regarding Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive in the front line with Russia, saying that it is very important for everyone in the country.

“This offensive is something of a ray of hope. We believe that with the help of our Western allies, we are able to liberate the occupied territories. This is not wishful thinking as some believe,” Melnyk said.

The counteroffensive “won’t be easy” because the Russians have been preparing well for months, Melnyk also said, adding that military aid is given to them too slowly and only in small portions to achieve the success expected, for which they would need “a lot more equipment.”

He also said he does not feel “any urge for peace at any price” and that the vast majority of Ukrainians “do not want to give up any country for peace.”

“A rotten compromise cannot ensure a stable peace for all of us, at most a fragile cease-fire. Any discussion about negotiations is also complete nonsense, because the Russians don’t want to negotiate at all,” he added.​​​​​​​

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