LVIV, Ukraine/BEIJING (Reuters) – Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba asked his Chinese counterpart in a phone call on Tuesday to use Beijing’s ties with Moscow to stop Russia’s military invasion of its neighbour, the Ukrainian foreign ministry said in a statement.
According to the statement, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Kuleba that Beijing was ready to make every effort to help end the war through diplomacy.
China, which has grown closer with Moscow in recent years while it has also had cordial diplomatic ties and strong trade links with Ukraine, has refused to condemn Russia’s attack on the country or to call its actions there an invasion.
The call between the two is the first to have been reported since Russia’s attack on its neighbour last Thursday. It was initiated by Kuleba, according to China’s foreign ministry.
Wang repeated China’s call for a solution to the crisis through negotiations, saying it supported all international efforts that could help achieve a political resolution, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.
In January, Chinese President Xi Jinping marked 30 years of ties with Ukraine, hailing the “deepening political mutual trust” between them. Ukraine is a hub in the Belt and Road Initiative, a sprawling infrastructure and diplomatic undertaking that binds China closer with Europe.
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” that it says is not designed to occupy territory but to destroy its southern neighbour’s military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists.
(Reporting by Natalia Zinets in Lviv and Tony Munroe in Beijing, Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Jon Boyle and Edmund Blair)