China Calls for Russia-Ukraine Cease-fire; Ukraine Sees Some Merit

China Calls for Russia-Ukraine Cease-fire; Ukraine Sees Some Merit
Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a photo on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022. (Alexandr Demyanchuk, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

China issued a peace proposal calling for a cease-fire between Ukraine and Russia as the war reached one year mark on Friday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy cautiously welcomed Beijing’s involvement, but said he would wait for China’s actions, the AP reported.

“The question is what follows the words. The question is in the steps and where they will lead to,” Zelenskyy said at a news conference on Friday, Feb. 24.

Beijing claims to be neutral in the war, but it has also followed "no limits friendship" with Russia, has not condemned Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, and has not joined Western-led sanctions.

Instead, China has accused the West of provoking the conflict and adding fuel to the fire by supplying Ukraine with defensive weaponry.

The proposal comes after China’s top diplomat Wang Yi’s trip to Europe and Russia and the recent announcement that China is trying to act as a mediator in the war.

The 12-point proposal mainly reiterates China's positions and emphasizes the importance of respecting the territorial integrity of all nations and peaceful resolution.

“All parties must stay rational and exercise restraint, avoid fanning the flames and aggravating tensions, and prevent the crisis from deteriorating further or even spiraling out of control,” says the plan.

But China’s proposal fails to address the fate of the regions that Russia has occupied since its invasion, causing skepticism both in Ukrainian and U.S. and European officials who say withdrawal of troops could mean the end of the war.

President Zelenskyy said on Friday the goal is to isolate Russia and that’s where China’s involvement might be useful. He also expressed his will to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping for strengthening ties between Ukraine and China and promoting world security.

China’s 12-point peace proposal also urges an end to “unilateral” sanctions on Russia, denounces any threats of nuclear force, calls for resolving the humanitarian crisis, and “abandoning cold war mentality” – pursuing “one’s own security, at the cost of others.”