Important Chinese Intervention In Ukraine Imbroglio

Xi Zelensky

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Ukrainian counterpart, Vladimir Zelensky, have spoken over the phone, in their first official conversation since Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine more than a year ago.

Media reports said:

Xi told Zelensky that “dialogue and negotiations are only viable way out.”

“China will neither watch the fire from the other side, nor add fuel to the fire, let alone take advantage of the opportunity to make profits,” Xi said. The Chinese president urged all sides to remain “calm” and restrained” when dealing with the possibility of the conflict spiraling into a larger confrontation. “No one wins a nuclear war,” he said.

Zelensky tweeted that the dialogue was “long and meaningful.” He said the call, along with the appointment of an ambassador to China, will “give a powerful impetus to the development of our bilateral relations.”

Xi promised to dispatch “a special envoy” to Ukraine and other countries to “conduct in-depth communication” regarding a resolution of the conflict.

In February, Beijing unveiled a 12-point roadmap for peace between Moscow and Kiev, expressing willingness to take part in mediating an end to the hostilities. China, unlike many Western nations, has refused to condemn Russia, its strategic partner, and to impose sanctions on Moscow.

Xi traveled to Moscow last month, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The leaders vowed to work to increase trade and other areas of cooperation. Xi said that the ties between the two countries have “acquired critical importance for the global landscape and the future of humanity,” according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Moscow’s Reaction To Xi-Zelensky Call 

Media reports added:

Ukraine’s “unrealistic” demands are standing in the way of peace negotiations, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has stated. She made her comments in response to a question about the phone call between Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Zakharova praised Beijing for its efforts to help restart meaningful negotiations. She said Russian and Chinese visions for a path to peace were “broadly in tune” with one another. “The problem lies not with the lack of good plans,” Zakharova said.

She said: The Kiev regime has so far not been receptive to any reasonable initiative of the Ukrainian crisis. Its occasional agreement to hold negotiations is being tied to ultimatums with obviously unrealistic demands.

The spokeswoman blamed Kiev for the eventual breakdown of negotiations last spring when Russian and Ukrainian teams held several rounds of meetings. Kiev, meanwhile, has repeatedly said that negotiations can resume only after Russia surrenders its recently incorporated territories. Moscow has called such demands unacceptable.

In October, Zelensky signed a decree that declared the “impossibility” of conducting negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Beijing, which unveiled a 12-point roadmap for peace in Ukraine in February, has maintained that the conflict can only end through dialogue. China, unlike many Western countries, has also refused to condemn Russia for its actions.

China’s Special Envoy To Ukraine

Another media report said:

China named diplomat Li Hui its special envoy to Ukraine and “other countries” on Wednesday.

Xi said that the envoy would be tasked with conducting “in-depth communication with all parties on political settlement of the Ukraine crisis,” Li was China’s ambassador to Moscow from 2009 to 2019.

Ukraine’s Ambassador To China

Zelensky, meanwhile, has appointed former strategic industries minister Pavel Ryabkin as the country’s new ambassador to China.

U.S. Annoyed By Macron’s Ukraine Push, Says Bloomberg

An earlier report by Bloomberg said:

The White House is “annoyed” by French President Emmanuel Macron’s unilateral attempt to initiate diplomatic negotiations on the Russia-Ukraine conflict with mediation by China.

According to people familiar with the U.S. government’s thinking on the issue, the recent move by the French leader has not gone down well in Washington,” the agency reported on Sunday.

The sources claimed that “the White House was annoyed by what they see as Macron freelancing on a delicate diplomatic issue without consulting with allies.”

The people quoted by Bloomberg also said they did not believe the French president’s initiative would be successful, pointing out that he had proposed other peace plans during the conflict, but later backtracked on them.

They claimed it was “clear” that Beijing had no intention of using its influence on Moscow regarding the situation in Ukraine, the report said.

Last week, Bloomberg cited anonymous sources as saying France has been looking to revive peace talks between Russia and Ukraine by this summer with Chinese help.

Macron was claimed to have asked his foreign policy adviser, Emmanuel Bonne, to work directly with Wang Yi, the top Chinese official in charge of foreign relations, on formulating a roadmap for settling the crisis.

Beijing has been saying for months that peace talks are needed in Ukraine, while stressing that any settlement should respect the interests of all parties. Chinese officials have also blamed the outbreak of the conflict on the actions of the US and its allies, including NATO’s eastward expansion.

Following his trip to Beijing, Macron tried to distance Paris from Washington’s aggressive line on China, saying “the Europeans cannot resolve the crisis in Ukraine,” so they must not allow themselves to be dragged into the confrontation between the U.S. and China over Taiwan. Europe should look for “strategic autonomy,” he insisted.

Macron’s efforts to improve relations with China and get involved in the peace process in Ukraine have been criticized by other EU nations as premature and jeopardizing the bloc’s unity.

German And Polish Position

A media report said:

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who also visited China, has fully backed the US stance on Taiwan.

Her Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki said that the EU will be “shooting into our own knee” if it tries looking for “strategic autonomy” because it will only make the bloc dependent on Beijing.

China Backs Macron’s Ukraine Peace Efforts

Media report said:

Beijing supports European efforts to kick start peace talks on Ukraine and eventually create a balanced and sustainable security framework for the continent, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin has said.

Negotiations should be based on Europe’s “fundamental long-term interests” and should take into account the “legitimate concerns of all parties,” the Chinese official said during a daily media briefing on Wednesday.

Wang was commenting on a reported attempt by French President Emmanuel Macron to enlist Chinese assistance to de-escalate the conflict.

The spokesman noted the comments made by President Xi Jinping during Macron’s visit to Beijing earlier this month, when the Chinese leader stated there can be no panacea to the crisis. All parties must work to build mutual trust before progress can be made, Wang argued.

The French effort to revive peace talks by this summer with Chinese help was reported by Bloomberg.

France is among the nations to have supplied Ukraine with weapons, and has supported Washington’s claim that Moscow’s military operation against its neighbor was “unprovoked.”

Russia sees the hostilities as part of a wider proxy war against Russia waged by the U.S. and its allies.

It is unknown if Macron’s plan has received any support from Kiev or its allies, who have repeatedly dismissed any cease-fires or peace negotiations so long as Russian troops remain in territories Ukraine claims as its own. President Vladimir Zelensky has signed a law that makes it illegal to negotiate with Moscow so long as Russian President Vladimir Putin remains in office.

Macron’s office has confirmed that Bonne is expected to speak to Wang, who heads up foreign affairs for the Chinese Communist Party’s central committee, but has declined to provide any details on the planned talks.

China’s Foreign Ministry said it was unaware of the French peace plan disclosed by Bloomberg, while Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has told journalists that Moscow does not possess any information on Macron’s initiative.

The news comes shortly after Macron’s recent trip to China.

Following talk between the Chinese and French leaders at the Great Hall of the People, the Chinese leader reiterated that China continues to call for peace negotiations and urged respect for the “reasonable security concerns” of both Russia and Ukraine.

Zelensky’s Top Advisor Blames U.S. For Ukraine Conflict

Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky’s top adviser, Mikhail Podoliak, praised a ‘Ukrainian victory’ resolution proposed by  U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday. Washington, he said, seeks to make amends for a ‘historical mistake’ by admitting Kiev into NATO and endorsing its war aims.

“The House of Representative’s resolution is unequivocal: The United States, unfortunately, along with other Western countries, encouraged Ukraine to give up nuclear and other weapons to ensure security and stability in the region under safeguards. This was a wrong policy that was misinterpreted by the aggressor and led to a major war in Europe,” Podoliak tweeted.

Kiev has insisted for years that the U.S. was obligated to protect it from Moscow because Ukraine agreed to return atomic weapons to Moscow under in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in exchange for guarantees of territorial integrity. Former US President Bill Clinton offered an “apology” for that in an interview with the Irish broadcaster RTE earlier this month.

Moscow has maintained that the arsenal was not Ukraine’s to begin with, but belonged to the Soviet Union, of which Russia was recognized as the sole heir. Russia has also pointed to Zelensky’s statements about re-acquiring nuclear weapons, made in January 2022, as justification for its current military operation.

Podoliak’s comments came in response to a resolution proposed by U.S. representatives Joe Wilson and Steve Cohen, a South Carolina Republican and a Tennessee Democrat. Though its text has not been made public, the Ukrainian government appears to be familiar with its contents. Kiev’s ambassador in Washington, Oksana Markarova, tweeted on Tuesday that it “includes important elements” of Zelensky’s “peace formula.”

From what anonymous congressional staffers told Yahoo News, the resolution practically echoes Zelensky’s talking points, declaring the U.S. policy to be restoring Ukraine’s 1991 borders and having Russia pay reparations and for its leadership to be put on trial for war crimes.

“Perhaps the most important feature of Western civilization culture is the ability to analyze past experience and acknowledge mistakes,” Podoliak told Yahoo when reached for comment about the resolution on Tuesday. This was presumably a reference to the resolution’s claim that the US had wrongly pressured Ukraine to give up nuclear weapons.

The U.S. continues to claim it is not a participant in the conflict, but has provided more than $100 billion in financial and military aid to Kiev over the past year.

Zelensky’s Right-hand Man Contradicts U.S. General

Other media reports said:

Ukraine still needs more weapons and equipment for the much-hyped spring “counteroffensive,” especially artillery ammunition, President Vladimir Zelensky’s adviser Mikhail Podoliak said on Wednesday.

He disagreed with the U.S. general commanding NATO forces in Europe, who told Congress earlier in the day that 98% of promised combat vehicles had already been delivered.

General Christopher Cavoli gave that statistic to the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday morning. “I am very confident that we have delivered the material that they need and we will continue a pipeline to sustain their operations as well,” Cavoli added, responding to questions about the expected Ukrainian attack.

Podoliak challenged that assessment later in the day, speaking during a telethon hosted by Ukrainian television. He said only the Ukrainian General Staff can offer accurate numbers, and that Cavoli’s statistics weren’t up to date.

“in my opinion, 98% is too much, too large a number. He proceeds from certain mathematical data, things he knows today,” the adviser said, referring to Cavoli. “There should be much more equipment, there is a real shortage of shells, especially of heavy calibers. We are trying to solve this problem.”

The current rate of supply allows the Ukrainian military to take “certain actions” at the frontline, Podoliak said, adding that there is “never enough” weapons and equipment when facing an enemy such as Russia.

The much-anticipated counteroffensive may have already begun, he suggested, urging the public not to regard it as a single event but a large number of engagements on various fronts

Multiple U.S. outlets have sought to temper expectations about the Ukrainian attack over the past week, citing anonymous government officials worried about the political fallout from its possible failure. Last Friday, the White House even warned of a possible Russian offensive taking place instead.

Ukraine Risks Losing Western Support If Counteroffensive Fails, Says New York Times

Ukraine has no guarantees of success with a counteroffensive against Russia, despite receiving Western weapons, training, and intelligence support, the New York Times has reported. An underwhelming outcome would likely prompt Kiev’s backers to press it to negotiate for peace, the newspaper predicted.

Kiev has long touted an upcoming push as the next decisive phase of the conflict with Russia. The New York Times claimed on Monday that the offensive could be launched as early as May, although Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmigal recently assessed that it might not get underway until the summer.

According to classified documents shared as part of the Pentagon leaks, Ukraine is planning to use 12 combat brigades of about 4,000 troops each in its renewed campaign against Russian forces. The U.S. and its allies have helped train nine of those units, with soldiers being taught to use Western-provided equipment and receiving tactical advice at American military facilities in Germany. Ukraine’s backers are also expected to provide it with intelligence for the proposed assault.

“Everything hinges on this counteroffensive,” Alexander Vershbow, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia and senior NATO official, said of the future operation. “Everybody is hopeful, may be over-optimistic. But it will determine whether there is going to be a decent outcome for the Ukrainians.”

Even with all Western help, “big gains are not guaranteed, or even necessarily likely,” the New York Times warned. The newspaper cited Ukrainian battlefield losses, heavy expenditure of munitions, and Russian troops digging in and preventing the enemy from using Western-taught warfare as working against Kiev.

After the push is over, “there is little chance that the West can recreate the buildup for the foreseeable future” the report argued. The U.S. and its allies have largely exhausted their military inventories after flooding Kiev with military aid, causing gaps that are unlikely to be filled until next year, experts assessed.

“The window to make significant gains may not remain open indefinitely,” the New York Times stated. With larger reserves at its disposal, Moscow could emerge victorious in the conflict, it acknowledged.

Politico previously reported that the White House was bracing itself to mitigate the fallout from a potentially poorly-executed Ukrainian counteroffensive. A temporary truce could give Kiev time for a military buildup before another offensive at a later point, U.S. officials claimed to the outlet.


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