CHINA’s leader Xi Jinping pledged not to add “fuel to the fire” yesterday in his first call to Ukraine’s Volodymr Zelensky since the Russian invasion.
Xi Jinping pledged not to add ‘fuel to the fire’ in his first call to President Zelensky since the Russian invasionCredit: AP
The hour-long exchange followed a state visit to Moscow last month in which he called blood-soaked Putin his “dear friend.”
But Xi has so far stopped short of supplying arms to Russia and was understood to have reassured Zelensky during their talks.
But the leaders’ talks yesterday were described as “long and meaningful” by the embattled Ukrainian hero last night.
Zelensky added: “I believe that this call, as well as the appointment of Ukraine’s ambassador to China, will give a powerful impetus to the development of our bilateral relations.”
China – which has feigned neutrality over the conflict – confirmed the call had taken place, adding that it “always stood on the side of peace”.
Xi has proposed a vague 12-point peace plan which makes no mention of Russian troop withdrawal and has insisted that China stands on the right side of history.
China quoted President Xi as saying that China would “neither watch the fire from the other side, nor add fuel to the fire, let alone take advantage of the crisis to profit”.
Analysts said the comment was aimed at the US, which has provided the most backing for Ukraine’s war effort.
White House spokesman John Kirby welcomed the phone call as “a good thing” but said it was too early to talk of peace moves.
Zelenskyy said later that, during the talk, “particular attention was paid to the ways of possible cooperation to establish a just and sustainable peace for Ukraine.”
But he added: “There can be no peace at the expense of territorial compromises.
“The territorial integrity of Ukraine must be restored within the 1991 borders.”
“No one wants peace more than the Ukrainian people. We are on our land and fighting for our future, exercising our inalienable right to self-defence.
“Peace must be just and sustainable”