China’s special representative for Eurasian affairs, Li Hui, was in Ukraine on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the prospect of peace talks and met with senior Ukrainian officials, including Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and President Volodymyr Zelensky.
According to the Ukrainian side, Kuleba told Li that Ukraine won’t agree to any deal that cedes territory to Russia. Kuleba “emphasized that Ukraine does not accept any proposals that would involve the loss of its territories or the freezing of the conflict.”
Ukraine and Russia are extremely far apart in their demands for a settlement. Kyiv wants Russia to withdraw from all the territory it has captured since launching the invasion last year and Crimea before talks can even happen. For their part, Moscow wants any peace deal to recognize the oblasts it has annexed as Russian territory.
According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, while in Ukraine, Li “laid out China’s position and proposals on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.” He said there was no quick solution for the conflict and said the warring sides must “do their part to build up trust and create conditions for ceasefire and peace talks.”
The ministry added that Beijing “stands ready to work on the basis of the document of China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis, seek out the broadest common ground among the international community for settling the crisis, and contribute our part to an early ceasefire and restoration of peace.”
Neither side detailed the conversation between Li and Zelensky. During his trip to the region, Li, a former ambassador to Russia, will also visit Russia, Poland, France, and Germany.