Chinese officials released its 12-point peace plan last month that called for, among other things, a ceasefire that would freeze the current battlefield positions in place, effectively solidifying Russia‘s current gains on the battlefield permanently, hence Ukraine’s opposition to it. A ceasefire, U.S. officials have said, would also give Russia a chance to refit, resupply, and redeploy troops for a future offensive.
“We believe that many of the provisions of the peace plan put forward by China are consonant with Russian approaches and can be taken as the basis for a peaceful settlement when they are ready for that in the West and in Kyiv. However, so far we see no such readiness from their side,” Putin said, according to Reuters.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Russian leaders spoke “positively of China’s objective and impartial position,” in a statement. “The two sides oppose the practice by any country or group of countries to seek advantages in the military, political and other areas to the detriment of the legitimate security interests of other countries.”
Russia reaffirmed its commitment to resuming peace talks, the ministry added, noting that it also welcomes China’s “willingness to play a positive role for the political and diplomatic settlement of the Ukraine crisis and welcomes the constructive proposals set forth in” China’s peace plan.
U.S. officials have already dismissed the plan or any subsequent peace proposals that result from Xi’s trip to Moscow while warning that Beijing could seek to position itself as a peacemaker.
“We are concerned that, instead, China will reiterate calls for a ceasefire that leaves Russian forces inside Ukraine sovereign territory,” National Security Council coordinator John Kirby said on Monday. “And any ceasefire that does not address the removal of Russian forces from Ukraine would effectively ratify Russia’s illegal conquests, enabling Russia to entrench its positions and then to restart the war at a more advantageous time for them.”
The first point in China’s calls for both sides to respect the sovereignty of all countries, which Kirby referenced, saying, “We encouraged President Xi to advocate for this exact essential key point, which must include the withdrawal of Russian forces from sovereign Ukrainian territory consistent with the U.N. Charter.“