Xi may visit Russia next week, will speak to Zelenskyy
Chinese President Xi Jinping could wade deeper than before into Ukraine diplomacy as soon as next week, staging both his first trip to Russia and his first talks with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy since Moscow’s invasion.
The Chinese foreign ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday (13 March). The Kremlin said it had nothing to announce yet. Ukraine’s president’s office did not immediately respond.
A visit by Xi to Russia would be a major event for Putin, who portrays the war in Ukraine as a conflict with the combined might of the West and has frequently spoken of his plans to host Xi in coming months. Russia relies on China to buy oil and gas it can no longer sell in Europe.
China has declined to ascribe blame for the war while opposing Western sanctions against Russia. It unveiled a proposal in February for a peace plan, met with scepticism in the West but praised in Moscow and cautiously welcomed by Zelenskyy.
NATO and EU give sceptical reaction to China’s peace proposal for Ukraine
China’s attempt to play the role of neutral peacemaker in the Ukraine war fell flat on Friday (24 February) as both NATO and the EU appeared to reject Beijing’s credibility as a mediator.
The Brief — China’s strategic ambiguity
On the anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, China published a 12-point peace plan for the conflict, with a flurry of bilateral visits anticipated. But can China help end the war in Ukraine? What should we realistically expect?
On the ground, both sides described relentless fighting in Bakhmut, a small ruined city in eastern Ukraine that has become the main focus of a Russian winter campaign involving hundreds of thousands of freshly conscripted reservists and mercenaries.
Ukraine, Russia locked in brutal battle in Bakhmut, casualties mount
Ukrainian forces faced relentless Russian attacks on Bakhmut in its eastern Donetsk region, with both sides reporting mounting enemy casualties as they battled across a small river that bisects the ruined town and now marks the front line.
The months-long fight for Bakhmut has become Europe’s bloodiest infantry battle since World War Two, described as a meat grinder by both sides.