“No real peace plan”
Selenskyj finds China’s advance “not bad”
02/24/2023, 7:29 p.m
On the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, China makes a push for a peace process. The 12-point document was initially criticized in Ukraine, but then President Zelenskyy had a few good words for it.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed Beijing’s presentation of a position paper on the Ukraine war, but sees no real peace plan in it. “China has started talking about Ukraine, and that’s not bad,” Zelenskyy said at a press conference marking the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Kiev. “It seems to me that there is respect for our territorial integrity” and “security concerns,” he added.
“It seems to me that this was not a peace plan by China,” he also said. “There are a few points that I understand. There are ideas that I disagree with, that the whole world disagrees with. But it’s still something.” He did not give details. The paper is a basis. “Our task is to gather everyone to isolate one,” said Zelenskyy, referring to Russia. Several representatives of Ukraine had previously commented negatively on the twelve-point paper.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry had previously presented the twelve-point plan for a “political settlement” of the conflict. Russia and Ukraine should “resume direct dialogue as soon as possible,” it said. And: “The sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries must be effectively safeguarded.” What this means in the case of Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia, is not explained.
Moscow happier with the plan than Kiev
The Russian Foreign Ministry expressly welcomed Beijing’s initiative and at the same time reaffirmed its own position in favor of ending the hostilities. “We welcome the sincere desire of our Chinese friends to help resolve the conflict in Ukraine through peaceful means,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. “We share Beijing’s considerations.”
Russia is open to a political-diplomatic solution to the “Ukraine crisis”. The basic prerequisite, however, is an end to Western arms deliveries to Ukraine, the cessation of all hostilities and the return of Ukraine to a neutral, non-aligned status. In addition, the “new territorial realities” – that is, the illegal annexation of several Ukrainian territories by Russia – must be recognized. With this, however, Zakharova again emphasized points that are likely to be incompatible with Ukraine’s ideas for peace.
Zakharova also reaffirmed Moscow’s original war goal – the “demilitarization and denazification” of Ukraine.
Blinking warns of truce
After the plan was published, skeptical tones were heard from the USA. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned of a “temporary or unconditional ceasefire”. “Russia will use any lull in the fighting to tighten control over the illegally captured territory and to build up its armed forces for further attacks,” he said at a UN Security Council meeting marking the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Security Council members should therefore not be fooled by calls for a ceasefire, Blinken said. The US Secretary of State did not mention China by name in his speech – but his comments should be understood as a reaction to the position paper submitted by China.