Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky  (AFP or licensors)

Ukraine open to Chinese peace plan, but confusion remains

There was confusion Saturday over a Chinese peace plan to end the war in Ukraine after Washington said it had intelligence that Beijing is considering providing Russia with weapons. Yet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made clear he wants to meet China's leader Xi Jinping to discuss Beijing's proposals, despite concerns about Chinese-Russian relations.

By Stefan J. Bos

Ukrainian soldiers prepared Polish Leopard tanks for battle. Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki confirmed in Kyiv that four tanks had been delivered with more expected. Russia reportedly responded Saturday by cutting all oil deliveries to Poland.

But Polish oil giant Orlen said "it had prepared" for this scenario and could "fully supply its refineries" via sea and that the halt would not affect consumers.

However, Moscow's message was clear: it does not accept more western weapons into Ukraine. Yet the United States claims to have intelligence that Russia may receive eastern weapons from China despite concerns that it could potentially lead to a world war.

In addition, Washington says Beijing is considering supplying drones and ammunition to Moscow for use in the war in the armed conflict in Ukraine.

But the saber-rattling comes while Beijing publicly claims it seeks peace. It has proposed a plan which respects national sovereignty.

However, the 12-point document does not specify whether Moscow could keep captured territories that it regards as part of Russia and does not explicitly say that Russia must withdraw its troops from Ukraine.

Unilateral sanctions

The plan also condemns the usage of "unilateral sanctions" in what is seen as a veiled criticism of Ukraine's allies in the West.

However, heard through an interpreter, Ukraine's President Zelensky made clear he is open to talks with China's leader Xi Jinping to discuss Beijing's peace proposals. "China started talking about Ukraine, and I think that is a good thing," he said.

"But it actually begs the question: 'what will these words be followed with?' Because the steps that are to be taken this is important. And what these steps will lead to for us," Zelensky added.  

But with more tanks arriving and both sides still preparing for more battles, peace still seems far away. And as Russia's invasion now enters its second year, Russian-Western diplomatic relations are the worst since the official end of the Cold War.

The European Union on Friday adopted its tenth massive package of sanctions against Russia, while the US announced billions in additional military aid for Ukraine.


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25 February 2023, 17:33