Zelensky Invites Xi to Visit Ukraine

March 29, 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit Ukraine.

“We are ready to see him here,” Zelensky said in an interview with the Associated Press. “I want to speak with him. I had contact with him before full-scale war. But during all this year, more than one year, I didn’t have.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning responded to the request by saying she had no information on whether an invitation had actually been extended to Xi or if he would accept such an invitation.

Xi traveled to Russia just over a week ago, and met with President Vladimir Putin there—their first face-to-face meeting in Russia since the February 24, 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

In the face of sweeping sanctions and other consequences amid the war in Ukraine the two leaders are seeking to insulate their nations against the West. 

During his Moscow stay, Xi made no direct support for Putin’s war in Ukraine, reiterating China’s “impartial position” in the conflict. However, Xi did stress to Putin as he departed, “Now there are changes that haven’t happened in 100 years. When we are together, we drive these changes.”

Xi was set to meet virtually with Zelensky after his travel to Russia. There had even been some speculation that Xi might travel to Ukraine, but it didn’t happen. 

Before departing for Russia, Xi posted an article in China’s largest state newspaper promoting a peace plan for Ukraine, saying it “reflects the broadest common understanding of the international community on the crisis.”  It was quickly dismissed by Western officials as one-sided in Russia’s favor.

Soon after Xi’s visit, Putin announced plans to move tactical nuclear weapons to its ally and Ukraine’s neighbor Belarus, provoking outrage from international organizations. Zelensky, however, suggested that Putin’s decision to transfer the weapons may have been a ploy to distract from the absence of promises he got from Xi during their meeting.

PHOTO: Voldoymyr Zelensky, Xi Jinping

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