Chinese, Ukrainian foreign ministers discuss Russia invasion

Photo: AFP

Beijing, China | China and Ukraine's foreign ministers have spoken for the first time in over a month, with Beijing maintaining its push for peace talks even as allegations of Russian atrocities in towns around Kyiv grow.

International condemnation of Moscow has intensified in recent days with the discovery of dozens of bodies in areas around the Ukrainian capital from which Russian troops have withdrawn, though they have denied involvement in the deaths.

China has repeatedly refused to condemn its longtime ally Russia for the invasion of its neighbour, echoing Moscow's talking points in blaming American meddling and NATO expansion for setting the stage for a conflict.

Monday's phone call between Wang Yi and Ukraine's Dmytro Kuleba was the first reported high-level talks between the two nations since March 1, whereas Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited China last week for a series of meetings.

During the call, which Beijing said was made at Kyiv's request, Wang said China's "basic attitude towards the Ukraine issue is to promote peace talks", according to a Chinese foreign ministry readout.

"The war will someday end, and the key is how to learn from this painful experience to properly uphold lasting security in Europe," Wang said.

He added that Beijing believed in the establishment of a "balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism" based on "equal dialogue" and "the principle of indivisibility of security".

"China is willing to take an objective and fair position to continue playing a constructive role in its own way," Wang said.

Kuleba tweeted on Monday that he was "grateful to my Chinese counterpart for solidarity with civilian victims".

"We both share the conviction that ending the war against Ukraine serves common interests of peace, global food security, and international trade," he added.

China's diplomatic closeness to Russia has triggered fears that Beijing could be willing to help the Kremlin sidestep the impact of Western sanctions or even supply hardware to aid the war effort.

Top European Union officials on Friday warned Chinese President Xi Jinping against backing Russia and pushed Beijing to use its diplomatic clout to end the war.

© Agence France-Presse

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