Russia, Ukraine see crisis eventually resolved through talks, China’s special envoy says

By Thomson Reuters Mar 21, 2024 | 10:34 PM

By Joe Cash

BEIJING (Reuters) – Russia and Ukraine believe that their crisis will be solved through talks, even as both are adamant on their positions and have huge differences when it comes to peace talks, China’s special envoy for Eurasian affairs said on Friday.

Li Hui said Russia appreciates China’s efforts in its latest round of shuttle diplomacy to Europe, while Ukraine viewed his recent visit as important.

Despite differences in their views of peace talks between the warring parties, Li said “still they all believe that ultimately this crisis will be resolved” by those means.

“All agree that the war will ultimately be carried out through negotiations, not guns,” he told reporters at a briefing of his recent visits to Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France and Poland this month.

He said China wishes for an international peace conference recognised by both Russia and Ukraine, with both participating equally. Switzerland plans to host a peace conference this year, which Moscow said is doomed to fail without its participation.

China has put forward suggestions to facilitate a ceasefire with the sole intention of ensuring the peace conference is successful, Li said.

Li told reporters that China stood “with open arms” to accept anything conducive to de-escalation and negotiation.

Russia, which invaded Ukraine in 2022, swiftly pulled back some of its forces in the east and south after over-extending but has been slowly advancing after a Ukrainian counteroffensive last year failed to make significant gains. Moscow now controls a little under one fifth of Ukraine.

(Reporting by Joe Cash; Writing by Liz Lee; Editing by Tom Hogue and Kim Coghill)