Beijing is considering whether to engage in a peace process that would end Russian aggression in Ukraine, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the British daily Financial Times. He also explained why China “will not let Russia fall”, adding that according to Ukrainian intelligence services, the Kremlin is “absolutely furious with China for its attitude and lack of support” after Xi Jinping’s visit.
Authorities China they are still debating whether to become a mediator that would bring about an end to the war or to support it more strongly Russiaand whether the time has come for Beijing to play a significant role in this conflict, he said Dmytro Kulebaquoted by a British daily.
“Financial Times” reminds that the president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky invited Chinese leader Xi Jinping to pay a visit to Kiev, but so far Beijing has not responded to this request.
During a recent visit to Moscow Xi announced that China has a peace plan for Ukraine and Russia, but – as the British daily writes – Western states are skeptical about Beijing’s aspirations to play the role of mediator. However, Kiev is interested in involving the Chinese authorities in the negotiations.
Kuleba told the FT that Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang had recently assured him that China would not supply Russia with weapons.
According to Ukrainian intelligence services, the Kremlin is “absolutely furious with China for its attitude and lack of support” after Xi’s visit, the Ukrainian minister said. “Beijing “will not allow Russia to collapse,” but “it needs a weak Russia to make concessions to China by supplying it with raw materials,” Kuleba explained.
Preparations for the counteroffensive
Ukraine is preparing for a major counter-offensive this spring, however, the head of Ukrainian diplomacy warned that this counter-offensive should not be presented as an absolutely watershed moment in the war, because if this operation is not successful, such a narrative will strengthen the position of these Western politicians, who want to persuade Kiev to “compromise with Moscow”, reports “FT”.
Kuleba reminded that in every country currently supporting Ukraine there are politicians who would like to put pressure on their government to limit aid to Kiev, and on the Ukrainian authorities to agree to a truce.
When asked whether Western countries are limiting their aid to Ukraine for fear of an escalation of the conflict with Russia, the minister replied that “escalation is an excuse, not an argument.” Any request by Ukraine for more technologically advanced weapons was initially refused for fear of such an escalation. But this argument “never worked” – explained Kuleba.
Resources in exchange for a favorable attitude
The British daily reminds that so far the US has not agreed to supply Ukraine with longer-range missiles for US HIMARS missile launchers for fear that they will be used to carry out attacks in Russia. Kiev emphasizes that it needs weapons that will allow it to hit targets such as control centers, weapons depots and military concentration points, because Russia has moved them inland, beyond the range of weapons that the Ukrainian army now has.
On Tuesday, the “FT” reported that Xi’s visit to Moscow will result in a mutually beneficial agreement under which Russia will offer China its raw materials in exchange for Beijing’s favorable attitude towards the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine and help in easing the effects of Western sanctions.
Moscow accepts economic dependence on China, seeing it as a condition of victory in the war with Ukraine. For the Kremlin, Beijing is the most important partner helping Russia to survive the economic consequences of Western sanctions.
“FT” emphasized that last year the value of bilateral trade between the two countries reached a record value of USD 190 billion, and in January Russia became the largest exporter of natural gas to the Chinese market. The key topic of Xi’s talks with Putin was probably the Power of Siberia 2 gas pipeline project. The implementation of this project is intended to help Russia redirect surplus gas to China, which is no longer available for sale in Europe.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/SERGEY KARPUHIN/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN POOL