Ukraine’s Zelenskyy invites China’s President Xi for ‘dialogue’

Zelenskyy’s wife, Olena Zelenska, says a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ally was handed to the Chinese delegation in Davos.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy talks to soldiers
Zelenskyy has repeatedly sought to make contact with Xi since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February [File: Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP]

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has written a letter inviting Chinese leader Xi Jinping for talks as Russia’s invasion nears its one-year anniversary.

The letter was handed over in Davos, Switzerland, to the Chinese delegation at the World Economic Forum, his wife Olena Zelenska said on Wednesday.

Zelenskyy has repeatedly sought to make contact with Xi since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year in the hope that Beijing will use its influence over Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

“It was a gesture and invitation to dialogue and I hope very much that there will be a response to this invitation,” Zelenska told reporters.

China and Russia announced a “no limits” partnership in February last year, shortly before Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine.

Beijing has sought to position itself as neutral in the war, while at the same time deepening ties with Moscow, particularly in the energy sector.

But some analysts have suggested China could ultimately step in as a mediator to negotiate an end to the fighting in Ukraine.

Foreign minister Wang Yi called last September “on all parties concerned to keep the crisis from spilling over”, underlining concern about the economic impact of the conflict that has affected countries worldwide.

Zelenskyy told the South China Morning Post newspaper in August that he “asked officially for a conversation” with Xi, adding dialogue would be “helpful”.

Foreign ministers from both countries met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.

Source: AFP