Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping by phone for the first time since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
“I had a long and meaningful phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping. 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,” Zelensky said.
In the phone call, Xi and Zelensky exchanged views on the Ukraine crisis, with Xi reaffirming China’s support for peace talks, according to the Chinese government.
Xi said China will send a special envoy to Ukraine and other countries to help conduct “in-depth communication” with all parties for a political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, the government said, adding that Xi also said China is willing to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.
China “will neither watch the fire from the other side, nor add fuel to the fire, let alone take advantage of the opportunity to profit,” Xi said, acknowledging that the crisis has had a “major impact” internationally and that the “only feasible way out” is “dialogue and negotiation.”
The call lasted an hour, and the two leaders “discussed a full range of topical issues of bilateral relations. Particular attention was paid to methods of possible cooperation to establish a just and sustainable peace for Ukraine,” according to a readout from Zelensky.
The call was “an important dialogue,” the head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office Andriy Yermak said in a Telegram post.
In March, Xi met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
Some background: China has claimed neutrality in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, with Beijing calling for peace in the conflict. But it has also refused to condemn Russia’s invasion or make any public call for Russia to withdraw its troops. Its officials have instead repeatedly said that the “legitimate” security concerns of all countries must be taken into account and accused NATO and the US of fueling the conflict.
CNN’s Yulia Kesaieva in Kyiv contributed reporting to this post.