Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Saturday that Chinese diplomacy would end the war between Russia and Ukraine.
Kuleba told an online press conference that he had received assurances from Beijing that “China is interested in stopping this war.” He spoke with Wang Yi, Chinese Foreign Minister, “a few days ago”, he said. The pair spoke on March 1 and it was not immediately clear if they had a second conversation.
“China has a special relationship with Russia. We expect them to reach out to Russia with a very consistent and strong message that this war is also against the interests of China, this war is against the interests of humanity and that President Putin must remove.
“Chinese diplomacy has enough tools to make a difference and we expect it is already involved. . . and that their efforts will be crowned with success.
While Kuleba has claimed that Chinese diplomacy will end the war, it remains unclear what pressure, if any, President Xi Jinping might exert on Vladimir Putin.
Beijing refused to condemn the Russian invasion but said the territorial integrity of sovereign states must be respected. Earlier this week, China was one of only five countries, along with India, to abstain from a UN vote condemning the invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier on Saturday, Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, held a call with Wang Yi, his Chinese counterpart. The State Department said Blinken told Wang that “the world is watching to see which nations uphold the fundamental principles of freedom, self-determination, and sovereignty.”
Kuleba asked Indians to pressure Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has remained neutral, to press for a ceasefire so that foreign students can be evacuated from besieged towns. He also said that India could run out of food if the war continued.
“India is one of the biggest consumers of Ukrainian agricultural products. If this war continues, it will be difficult for us to sow a new crop and for them to reap,” Kuleba said.
Kuleba also met Blinken on the Polish-Ukrainian border on Saturday. He said he had asked for new sanctions against Russia and more weapons. He said NATO’s refusal to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine showed it was weak. “Because of the decision, more civilians will be killed,” he said. However, Kuleba said he was confident Ukraine would win the war.
The United States and its NATO allies oppose the creation of a no-fly zone because they believe it would drag the alliance into conflict with Russia, which could trigger a very dangerous escalation.