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Zelenskyy invites Xi Jinping to visit Ukraine

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday invited his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to Ukraine, for what would be the first direct communication between the two leaders since the beginning of Russia’s all-out war on Ukraine, according to Politico.

“We are ready to see Xi here,” Zelenskyy said in an interview with the Associated Press, a U.S. newswire, on a train to Kyiv, adding, “I want to speak with him.”

“I had contact with him before full-scale war. But during all this year, more than one year, I didn’t have contact,” Zelenskyy said.

In spite of being a key ally to Russia, Xi has sought to position Beijing as a peace broker between Moscow and Kyiv in recent months — spurring criticism from EU and NATO officials, who raised doubts over China’s capacity to act as a neutral intermediary.

Yet, Zelenskyy has recently signaled his openness to Chinese-led peace talks, using Beijing’s 12-point peace plan as a basis.

“I think some of the Chinese proposals respect international law, and I think we can work on it with China,” the Ukrainian president said earlier this month.

Ahead of Xi’s visit to Moscow last week, the Wall Street Journal reported the trip would give the Ukrainian and Chinese presidents an occasion to speak over the phone.

But talks did not take place, and the Xi-Putin summit ended with both leaders endorsing a joint statement that seemed to back Russia’s narrative, making no offer to withdraw Russian forces from Ukraine while blaming NATO expansion for sparking the war.