Russia open to China’s offer to end Ukraine war: Putin

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2023

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Monday that Russia was open to discussing China´s proposals to end the fighting in Ukraine at the start of high-stakes talks in the Kremlin.

The summit comes as China seeks to portray itself as a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict, but Washington warned the world should not be fooled by Beijing´s moves. Xi´s three-day trip also serves as a show of support for internationally isolated Putin, just days after a war crimes tribunal issued a warrant for his arrest over accusation of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children. “We are always open to negotiations,” Putin told the Chinese leader, who was on his first visit to Moscow since the start of Russia´s military intervention in Ukraine last year.

The United States has accused Beijing of mulling arms exports to Moscow -- claims China has vociferously denied. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced scepticism over Xi´s Ukraine proposals, warning they could be a “stalling tactic” to help Russia.

“The world should not be fooled by any tactical move by Russia, supported by China or any other country, to freeze the war on its own terms,” Blinken told reporters. Xi and Putin are due to discuss China´s 12-point position paper on the Ukraine conflict, which includes a call for dialogue and respect for all countries´ territorial sovereignty.

During his initial meeting with Putin, Xi hailed “close ties” with Russia and the Russian leader said the two countries had “plenty of common objectives and tasks”. The two will continue talks on Tuesday. Putin has welcomed Beijing´s statements on Ukraine as being indicative of a willingness to play a “constructive role” in ending the conflict.