The Kremlin throws cold water on China mediating peace in Ukraine as Macron urges Xi to 'bring Russia to its senses'

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The Kremlin throws cold water on China mediating peace in Ukraine as Macron urges Xi to 'bring Russia to its senses'
French President Emmanuel Macron walks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping after inspecting an honor guard during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People on April 6, 2023 in Beijing, China.Ng Han Guan/Getty Images
  • Moscow threw cold water on the potential for China to play the role of mediator in the Ukraine war.
  • "So far there are no prospects for a political settlement," the Kremlin said.
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The Kremlin on Thursday said there were "no prospects" for China to play the role of mediator in Moscow's unprovoked war against Ukraine at present, as French President Emmanuel Macron met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and urged him to "bring Russia to its senses."

"Undoubtedly, China has a very effective and commanding potential for mediation," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, per the Moscow Times. "But the situation with Ukraine is complex, so far there are no prospects for a political settlement."

Peskov said there were "no other ways" forward for Russia aside from continuing its offensive in Ukraine, signaling that Moscow has no interest in negotiations in the foreseeable future.

This came after Macron in Beijing said that Russia had dealt a blow to international stability by invading Ukraine, and called on Xi to push Russia to see reason and "bring everyone back to the negotiating table."

Later in the day, Xi called for peace talks to "resume as soon as possible," the Associated Press reported.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has invited Xi to visit Ukraine and repeatedly expressed a desire to speak with him. The two leaders have not spoken since Russia invaded over a year ago.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who traveled to Beijing alongside Macron, on Thursday said Xi "reiterated his willingness to speak" with the Ukrainian leader "when conditions and time are right," according to the Associated Press.

The French president and EU chief visited China as the West continues to warn Beijing against providing Russia with military equipment as the war in Ukraine rages on.

China has claimed that it's neutral in the Ukraine war and unveiled a peace plan in February on the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion. Western governments have largely met China's peace proposal with skepticism, particularly given the plan does not call for Russian troops to withdraw from occupied Ukrainian territories.

Beijing also tends to side with Russia on geopolitical issues, and the two countries announced a "no limits" partnership last year. Along these lines, the Chinese government has not criticized Russia for launching an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine but has rebuked Western sanctions against Russia over the war while echoing the Kremlin's anti-NATO rhetoric.

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That said, Xi showed no signs that China would provide Russia with weapons during a recent visit to Moscow.

In an interview with The New York Times this week, China's EU ambassador, Fu Cong, also downplayed the notion that Moscow and Beijing have a limitless friendship. "'No limit' is nothing but rhetoric," Fu said.

The Institute for the Study of War, which has closely tracked the war in Ukraine, on Wednesday said that Fu's statement was consistent with its assessment that "Putin has not been able to secure the benefits from the no-limits bilateral partnership with China which he likely hoped for" while hosting Xi in Moscow last month.

The war in Ukraine has made Putin a global pariah and isolated Russia economically and politically, but the Russian leader on Wednesday insisted that his country remains a "respected center of world politics."

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