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Ukrainian Foreign Minister discusses territorial integrity with Chinese counterpart

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba informed on Thursday that during a telephone conversation with his Chinese counterpart, Qin Gang, he raised the topic of territorial integrity and emphasized the importance of the peace formula presented by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

During my call with China's State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang today, we discussed the significance of the principle of territorial integrity. I underscored the importance of @ZelenskyyUa’s Peace Formula for ending the aggression and restoring just peace in Ukraine.

— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 16, 2023

The peace formula that Zelenskyy had presented in November 2022 included among other postulates, nuclear, food, and energy security, the release of prisoners and deportees, the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, as well as the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.

This meeting between the foreign ministers of Ukraine and China was also announced in a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing. According to Kuleba, he presented Qin with the current situation in Ukraine, thanked him for Chinese humanitarian aid, and for presenting the PRC’s position on the “political solution to the Ukrainian crisis.”

Qin said China was concerned about the prolonged “crisis” and feared the situation was “getting out of control.”

“We hope that all parties will remain calm, remain rational and restrained, resume peace talks as soon as possible, and try to return to a political solution,” the minister added, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The communist authorities of the PRC have not condemned the Russian military aggression against Ukraine and have refrained from calling it an invasion. Beijing’s official press releases usually refer to the “crisis” or the “Ukrainian question”. Furthermore, China opposes the sanctions imposed on Russia.

The American Wall Street Journal recently reported, citing anonymous sources, that Chinese leader Xi Jinping is planning a visit to Moscow in the near future and a meeting with Vladimir Putin. According to these same sources, he is later to conduct an online conversation with Zelenskyy, which would be their first direct contact since the beginning of the Russian invasion in February 2022.

White House warns armistice would play in Russia’s hands

“A ceasefire right now would basically ratify Russia’s conquest. It would, in effect, recognise Russia’s gains, and all of its attempts to conquer a neighbor’s’s territory by force,” US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters during a virtual briefing, in replying to questions on the talks with China.

He also commented on the Chinese proposal for a 12-point peace plan in the perspective of a possible talk between the presidents of China and Ukraine.

Referring to the conversation between the foreign ministers of the two countries and the potential phone call between Xi Jinping and Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Kirby said if it happened it would be a “good thing” because China needs to hear the Ukrainian perspective. He added, however, that he would nevertheless be cautious about any Chinese proposals to resolve the conflict.

Kirby added that stopping the fighting would also allow for Russia to additionally dig in and rebuild, and be able to prepare for new attacks.

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