Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky thanks Germany’s Olaf Scholz for diplomacy in China

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday for his diplomatic efforts in Beijing to resolve Kyiv’s 25-month-old war with Russia and said China could play a role in securing peace.

Ukraine has deployed considerable effort to secure the backing of China, which has close ties with Russia, for a peace summit due to take place in Switzerland in June.

Russia is not invited to the gathering and has dismissed any such meeting as meaningless without Moscow’s participation.

Scholz spent more than three hours on Tuesday with Chinese President Xi Jinping and said he asked him “to exert pressure on Russia so that [President Vladimir] Putin finally calls off his insane campaign, withdraws his troops and ends this terrible war”.

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (right) takes part in a press conference alongside Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in Berlin in February. Photo: dpa

But Xi appeared to dismiss the meeting in Switzerland, saying efforts towards a peaceful resolution should be recognised by both sides and include equal participation by all parties.

“I would like to specially thank Olaf, the Chancellor of Germany, for his leadership and appropriate international communication,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address.

“For the signals we have heard from Beijing. China can indeed help restore a just peace for Ukraine and stability in international relations.”

Zelensky said the meeting in Switzerland “offers a real chance for all of us to ensure that the UN Charter and its goals and principles truly come into effect”.

Kremlin says Ukraine peace talks without Russia ‘make no sense’

Chinese representatives have attended at least one of the preparatory meetings for the Swiss gathering.

A senior Chinese envoy, Li Hui, special representative for Eurasian affairs, met senior officials in both Moscow and Kyiv.

But while in Moscow, he said it was impossible to discuss a Ukraine settlement without Moscow’s participation.

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