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Zelensky holds phone call with China's Xi Jinping

by The Kyiv Independent news desk April 26, 2023 3:38 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks at the International Summit of Cities and Regions in Kyiv on April 20, 2023. (Presi)
This audio is created with AI assistance

President Volodymyr Zelensky talked to Chinese President Xi Jinping on April 26 for the first time since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine began.

Zelensky tweeted that he hopes the "long and meaningful phone call" and the appointment of Ukraine's ambassador to China will "give a powerful impetus" to the development of the countries' relations.

On the same day, Zelensky appointed Pavlo Riabikin, the former minister of strategic industries, as the new ambassador. Before heading Ukraine’s Ministry of Strategic Industries in 2021-2023, Riabikin managed the State Customs Service and Boryspil Airport. Ukraine's previous ambassador to China, Serhii Kamyshev, died on Feb. 14, 2022.

Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Hua Chunying also reported the conversation, adding that it had been initiated by the Ukrainian side.

Later, she said that Beijing would send the Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Eurasian Affairs to Ukraine and other countries "to have in-depth communication with all parties on political settlement" of Russia's war against Ukraine.

Hua called the Russian unprovoked full-scale invasion "Ukraine crisis" in line with China's continued refusal to clearly state and condemn the aggressor.

Earlier, Zelensky repeatedly said he wanted to talk to China's Xi, inviting him to visit Ukraine days after the Chinese president traveled to Moscow for a meeting with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in late March.

After her April 6 talks with Xi in China, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen cited the Chinese leader saying the conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart could happen when "conditions and time are right."

Explainer: China’s increasing role in Russia’s war against Ukraine
Just days before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last February, China’s leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a “friendship without limits,” agreeing there would be no “forbidden areas of cooperation.” Unsurprisingly then, Beijing did not condemn Russia’s all-out w…
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