By Uganda Online Correspondent
US President Joe Biden has warned Chinese President Xi Jinping of “implications and consequences” should Beijing provide material support to Moscow in the war in Ukraine, the White House said.
The two leaders spoke in a video call amid US concerns that China may come to Russia’s aid – either by giving military equipment or bypassing Western sanctions – in its increasingly brutal offensive in Ukraine.
State broadcaster CCTV reported that Xi said during the call that “state-to-state relations cannot go to the stage of military hostilities”.
Since Russian troops invaded Ukraine on 24 February, several rounds of negotiations have taken place between delegates from Kyiv and Moscow.
It’s hard to gauge how much progress has been made in discussions so far.
Earlier this week, reports revealed a potential 15-point peace plan which would include Kyiv renouncing its ambitions to join Nato and promising not to host foreign military bases or weaponry in exchange for Western protection.
And Russia’s top negotiator said Friday that Moscow and Kyiv had brought their positions “as close as possible” on a proposal for Ukraine to become a neutral state.
But Ukrainians have been more downbeat in their assessment of the state of talks. Mikhailo Podolyak, an advisor to President Volodymyr Zelensky who is taking part in the negotiations, said his country’s position had not budged.
“Negotiation status. The statements of the Russian side are only their requesting positions,” he wrote on Twitter.
And former Russian prime minister, Mikhail Kasyanov, said on Friday that President Vladimir Putin was not “serious” about peace talks and was unlikely to offer any solution to the conflict “that will be comfortable for Ukrainian people”.
More now on calls from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for direct negotiations with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, which he made in comments posted in a video message overnight.
Speaking from Kyiv, Zelensky told Putin it was “time to meet, time to speak. I want to be heard by everyone, especially in Moscow”.
The Ukrainian leader told Russian officials that the time had come “for renewing territorial integrity and fairness for Ukraine”.
Zelensky also accused Russian troops of causing a “humanitarian disaster” by blocking the port city of Mariupol, preventing supplies from reaching residents, and shelling residential areas.
He alleged that Moscow had ordered its troops to “do everything, so the humanitarian catastrophe in Ukrainian cities turned into a reason for Ukrainians to work together with the occupiers”. He added that such actions amount to “a war crime”.