China could realistically emerge as a conflict mediator between Russia and Ukraine, according to Kyiv’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Melnyk.
Melnyk described the possibility of Beijing taking on a mediating role in the Ukraine war as “not unrealistic.”
Speaking to Germany’s Funke media group Sunday, he said: “The Chinese are of course pursuing their own interests. But I do believe that a just and peaceful solution and the end of hostilities are more in line with Beijing’s interests than this huge neverending earthquake for the entire world order.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s recent phone call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping – the first since the war began just over 14 months ago – “was a big step forward in strengthening our relations with China and ending Russian aggression,” Melnyk said.
The former Ukrainian ambassador to Germany pointed out however that “for Kyiv, the withdrawal of all Russian troops from the occupied territories is a sine qua non.”
China’s position paper on a political solution to the conflict in Ukraine does not call for a Russian withdrawal from the areas it has occupied in the past year, or from the Crimea peninsula which Moscow annexed in 2014.
The devil, after all, “lies in the detail,” Melnyk said.