Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged China to call on Russia for a ceasefire to stop further escalation of the war during an interview with China's Xinhua state news agency, in the first-ever interview by a Ukrainian official to Chinese state media.
“All sides, including Russia, could have clearly seen that the war against Ukraine is a wrong move. All of the problems and concerns should be resolved via negotiations rather than resorting to displays of force," Kuleba told Xinhua.
“We hope China will call on Russia to stop this invasion, lift blockades on international trade and respect the territorial integrity of other nations. This would be an important measure to maintain peace and prevent the humanitarian catastrophe from worsening,” he said.
Kuleba made a similar request from Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a phone call last month; Beijing has yet to respond to any of Kuleba's calls. China remains relatively neutral regarding both Russia and Ukraine, refusing to condemn Moscow for its invasion or support any sanctions toward the country on one the hand but not providing them with any support on the other.
"China is doing its best by making unremitting efforts to defuse tensions and working actively to promote dialogue,” Xinhua stated on Friday.
Regarding plans for long-term stability in Ukraine in the wake of Russia's invasion, Kuleba proposed that China act as one of its security guarantors in the future.
“Ukraine is studying the possibility of securing security assurances from permanent members of the UN Security Council, including China, and other major powers,” Kuleba said.
“Our proposal for China to be one of the guarantors of Ukraine’s security is a symbol of respect and trust we have for the People’s Republic of China,” he said.
Diplomatic analysts like Gal Luft, co-director of the Washington-based Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, have said that Beijing is unlikely to do so.
“China will never agree to play such a role. At most, it might take part in a peacekeeping mission, provided this is backed by a UN resolution,” Luft told the South China Morning Post.
Kuleba has also said that "We also believe that this war is not in China's interests," suggesting Russia is compromising China's signature Belt and Road Initiative by the global spillover of their actions in Ukraine.
The foreign minister has stated that Putin's recklessness will eventually impact China's economy, as there is talk in the West of sanctioning China itself for its inaction and growing financial ties with Moscow amidst the war.
Russia had previously stated that it expects commodity flows with China to grow and trade with Beijing to reach $200 billion by 2024.
"We are focused on achieving the goal set by the heads of state to bring bilateral trade turnover to $200 billion by 2024," Georgiy Zinoviev, head of the Russian foreign ministry's first Asia department, told the Interfax news agency.
"Chinese business remains interested in expanding its presence in Russia, for whom additional opportunities are opening up given the departure of some Western companies," he said.