- China says the core is to call for peace and promote dialogue and promote a political solution to the crisis.
- Last week, China published a 12-point plan calling for a ceasefire and gradual de-escalation by Russia and Ukraine.
- A Kremlin spokesperson said the plan should be analysed in detail and account for the interests of all sides.
China said on Monday it sought dialogue and a peaceful solution for Ukraine despite US warnings that Beijing might be considering weapons supplies for its ally Russia’s invasion.
Air-raid sirens blared in the capital Kyiv and other cities overnight and a Russian missile killed one person in the western town of Khmelnitskyi, Mayor Oleksandr Symshyshyn said on the Telegram messaging app. The all-clear sounded after daybreak.
China, which declared a “no limits” alliance with Russia shortly before the invasion a year ago, has refused to condemn the onslaught and last week published a 12-point plan calling for a ceasefire and gradual de-escalation by both sides.
Kyiv struck a receptive tone on some aspects of the plan while reiterating there could be no peace without a total Russian withdrawal – a non-starter for Moscow.
“I really want (victory) to happen this year. For this we have everything – motivation, confidence, friends, diplomacy,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a post on the Telegram messaging app on Monday.
China’s foreign ministry said it had kept contact with all sides in the crisis including Kyiv and its position was clear.
“The core is to call for peace and promote dialogue and promote a political solution to the crisis,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a news briefing in Beijing.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday the Chinese plan should be analysed in detail and account for the interests of all sides, but for now Moscow saw no signs suggesting a peaceful resolution was feasible.
“We are paying a great deal of attention to the plan of our Chinese friends … This is a very long and intense process,” Peskov told reporters.
China’s proposals have cut little ice among Ukraine’s NATO military alliance supporters, who say they are trying to dissuade China from supplying lethal aid for Russia’s lumbering invasion, possibly including “kamikaze” drones.
Moscow’s forces are incurring high losses in trench warfare as they struggle to make further gains in eastern Ukraine while Kyiv eyes a counter-offensive with advanced Western weapons, including battle tanks, pledged over the coming months.
Washington believes Beijing is considering military aid to Russia. “If it goes down that road it will come at real costs to China,” US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN.
Casting the Ukraine war as a battle for Russia’s survival against a rapacious West, Russian President Vladimir Putin last week hailed “new frontiers” in ties with Beijing and indicated that his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping would soon visit Moscow.
NATO and the West say their objective is to help Kyiv repel an imperial-style land grab by Moscow, which has derided its fellow former Soviet republic as an artificial state.
Putin’s framing of the war as an existential threat to Russia accords him greater freedom in the types of weapons he could one day use, including possibly nuclear firepower.
Dmitry Medvedev, an ex-Russian president and close ally of Putin, said the supply of arms to Kyiv risked a global nuclear disaster – reiterating apocalyptic rhetoric seen as an effort to deter deeper Western involvement with Russia struggling for battlefield momentum.
Ukraine’s outnumbered but better organised and nimbler forces repelled Russia’s attempt to seize Kyiv early in the war and later retook swathes of occupied territory in the east and south.
But after a year of war that has killed tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians on both sides and laid waste to Ukrainian cities, Moscow still controls nearly a fifth of Ukraine, which it claims to have annexed.
Russia’s forces are focusing on taking full control of the eastern Donbas industrial region but have managed only minor advances despite being replenished by hundreds of thousands of conscripts and reservists.
Russia’s defence ministry said on Monday its forces had destroyed a Ukrainian ammunition depot near the city of Bakhmut, also shooting down four US-made HIMARS missiles and five drones launched by Ukrainian forces. Russia has made the capture of Bakhmut a priority in its drive to seize the Donbas.
In Luhansk province, the largely Russian-occupied northern half of the Donbas, Moscow has escalated shelling and infantry assaults in the embattled Bilohoryvka, Svatove-Kupiansk and Kreminna areas, Ukraine’s Luhansk governor said on Monday.
“There is no fleeing, our units do not leave territory … Of course, everything can change at any moment,” Serhiy Haidai told state television.
“On the other hand, Western offensive heavy equipment is on the way and therefore in any week the military command can conduct an operation following the same plan as they did in the Kharkiv region.” he said, referring to Ukraine’s recapture of a northeastern sector from Russian forces last year.
Reuters could not independently confirm battlefield reports of either side.