Chinese President Xi Jinping has spent the past few months expressing his enthusiasm to initiate peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. Now, he has spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the first time since the invasion.
Zelenskyy says the hour-long phone call on Wednesday was "meaningful." He says there is an opportunity to use China's political influence "to restore strength to the principles and rules on which peace should be based." However, he said any deal will not come at the expense of "territorial compromises."
A Chinese foreign ministry official said Xi told Zelenskyy he will send a special representative on Eurasian affairs to Ukraine and other countries and hold talks with all parties on resolving the crisis.
Xi has been promoting a 12-point peace plan that he announced on February 24, the anniversary of the invasion. However, Western leaders have been skeptical. They say his proposal does not mention the withdrawal of Russian troops.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signaled his support. His top diplomats said the phone call shows China's willingness to "establish a negotiation process."
However, a White House spokesperson said it is too soon to tell whether it will lead to any "meaningful peace movement."
China's state-run media has reported that President Xi Jinping held telephone talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday.
Broadcaster CCTV reported the Xi-Zelenskyy talks as a breaking story in its main news program that started at 7 p.m. local time.
It was their first telephone talks since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February last year.
CCTV quoted Xi as saying that with Ukraine, China will push forward cooperation between the countries.
He reportedly indicated plans to send a representative of the Chinese government to Ukraine and other relevant countries.
Zelenskyy is said to have replied that he hopes to cooperate with China to protect world peace and stability.
Zelenskyy tweeted later on Wednesday, "I had a long and meaningful phone call with President Xi Jinping."
He added, "I believe that this call, as well as the appointment of Ukraine's ambassador to China, will give a powerful impetus to the development of our bilateral relations."