China seemingly offered to play a mediator role in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine that commenced last week.
Amid its strongest comments yet over the conflict, China said in a statement that Ukraine is “willing to strengthen communications with China and looks forward to China playing a role in realizing a ceasefire.” According to Daily Mail, Chinese authorities added that they are “extremely concerned about the harm to civilians” amid the war.
This comes after Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi shared a call with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba. During the call, Yi called on the two nations to “find a way to resolve the issue through negotiations.” He also reportedly said that he “deeply regrets that conflict has broken out between Ukraine and Russia,” and is paying “extreme attention to the harm suffered by civilians.” Yi also said on Tuesday that Beijing “laments” the outbreak of the conflict, reported The Guardian.
The call was initiated by the Ukrainian side, said the Chinese foreign ministry. They also talked about evacuation of Chinese nationals from Ukraine, with 6,000 Chinese citizens staying, studying and working there.
According to a Chinese readout, which cited Kuleba, “Ukraine is willing to strengthen communications with China, and it looks forward to China playing a mediation role in achieving a ceasefire.” Kuleba said that Yi assured him “of China’s readiness to make every effort to end the war on Ukrainian soil through diplomacy, including as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.”
The call came as Russian forces bombarded the regional government building in Kharkiv, which is Ukraine’s second largest city. The Tuesday attack killed at least 10 civilians.
Meanwhile, China said on Wednesday that it would not consider sanctioning Russia for the invasion, and shared that it will continue with “normal trade cooperation.” The Asian country also abstained during a United Nations General Assembly vote Wednesday. It was on a nonbinding resolution calling on Russia to stop its war on Ukraine and withdraw its soldiers.
The New York Times recently reported that senior Chinese officials allegedly told their Russian counterparts to delay sending in Putin’s troops into Ukraine until after the Winter Olympics had finished.