Russia today welcomed China's readiness to play a "positive role" in the settlement of the conflict in Ukraine after a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese diplomatic chief Wang Yi.
"We welcome China's readiness to play a positive role in the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at her weekly press briefing. Moscow welcomed the "invariably balanced" stance of Beijing, which is said to have presented its peace initiative for Ukraine to Putin in the Kremlin today.
The diplomat admitted that Wang discussed with the Russian leadership "the Ukrainian crisis", an issue that she discussed last week with her European colleagues. During today's meeting in the Kremlin, Putin stressed that "cooperation in the international arena between the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation (...) is of great importance for the stability of the international situation".
The meeting was also attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev. "We support a multipolar world and the democratisation of international relations (...)," Wang said at the start of the meeting, which was broadcast on state television, where he also conveyed to Putin "warm greetings" from Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who is due to visit Russia in the coming months.
According to press reports, the draft Chinese peace initiative would include the defence of territorial integrity, a call for a cessation of hostilities and protection of nuclear facilities in Ukraine, and opposition to the use of chemical weapons.
The first reactions of some Western diplomats to Beijing's proposal have been negative because it does not include the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory, which they consider an indispensable condition for launching a peace process.
So far China has defended Ukraine's territorial integrity, but has not condemned the Russian military campaign, which it has even justified on the grounds of NATO expansion.
Last week Wang already briefed Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on the key points of the initiative during a meeting in the German city of Munich. Kuleba assured that Kiev will study it carefully as soon as the full text is received.