A few minutes every morning is all you need.
Stay up to date on the world's Headlines and Human Stories. It's fun, it's factual, it's fluff-free.
The backstory: Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year, China has stayed neutral on the war. But it’s also been friendly with Russia, especially when it comes to trade and economic ties. So, Western countries have been pressuring China to use its power and relationship with Russia to get a deal going for ending the war. China released a peace plan for the two countries earlier this year. Although the plan called for “restraint” from all sides and pushed for peace negotiations, it didn’t call on Russia to pull its troops out of Ukraine.
More recently: In March, China’s President Xi visited Moscow, where he talked with Russian President Putin about the war. With this visit came reports that talks were going on between China and Ukraine to get their leaders to speak. That same month, China established its aim of becoming an international mediator by brokering a peace deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia and later offering to lead peace talks between Israel and Palestine.
The development: On Wednesday, Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy and Xi spoke on the phone for the first time since the war started. During the call, Xi said China would send representatives to Ukraine and hold talks on resolving the current crisis. According to Chinese state media, Xi also said that China would push for peace talks between Ukraine and Russia and work on figuring out a cease-fire. After the call, Zelenskiy’s office announced he’d appointed Pavlo Riabikin as ambassador to China, a position that’s been empty for two years.
"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 relation," Zelenskiy tweeted.
"There is no winner in nuclear wars," Xi told Zelenskiy, according to a Chinese government readout of the call. "On the nuclear issue, all relevant parties must stay calm and exercise restraint, truly act in the interests of their own future and that of humanity, and jointly manage the crisis."
"We appealed to China and presented President Zelenskiy's peace plan," said President Zelenskiy's chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, to reporters. "Of course, we can't say that we accept China's plan or political position, but it's good that they are ready to be involved. We are looking for contact between President Zelenskiy and President Xi because we think it's the best way to listen, personally, between our presidents."
White House national security spokesman John Kirby called the talks "a good thing" because "it's important for President Xi and [Chinese government] officials to avail themselves of the Ukrainian perspective on this illegal and unprovoked invasion by Russia."