Chinese envoy meets with Zelensky in Kyiv

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BEIJING(AP) China said that its special envoy met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during talks in Kiev earlier this week.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the meeting took place during meetings between Special Envoy Li Hui and Ukraine’s foreign minister and other government officials.

“There is no cure for the crisis,” Wang told reporters at a regular briefing. “All parties should create favorable conditions for a political solution and build mutual trust,” he said.

The visit follows an earlier phone call between President Zelensky and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Li and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleva spent two days discussing “how to deter a Russian aggression,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Kuleba explained to Li, former Chinese ambassador to Moscow, “the principles of restoring a stable and just peace based on respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Kleba reiterated the government’s position that Ukraine would not accept proposals involving loss of territory or a “freeze of the dispute,” according to a statement.

The Xi administration has said it is neutral and wants to mediate the 15-month conflict, but has given Moscow political and economic support.

China sees Moscow as a diplomatic and military partner in its fight against US dominance in world affairs. The Chinese government has refused to criticize the aggression and has used its status as one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council to deter a diplomatic attack on Russia.

Beijing announced a peace deal in February, which was largely rejected by Ukrainian allies, with Russian President Vladimir Putin arguing that troops should be withdrawn. Zelensky’s own 10-point peace plan also includes a tribunal to prosecute Russia for war crimes. China’s foreign ministry said Mr Li would also visit Poland, France and Germany, but did not give details of the schedule.

Political analysts see little hope of a peace deal as neither Ukraine nor Russia intends to stop fighting.

African nations are also starting peace efforts on the grounds of the war in Ukraine.