China wants Russia and Ukraine to hold peace talks
BEIJING: China is concerned about an escalation of the war in Ukraine and wants Moscow and Kyiv to hold peace talks, senior Chinese diplomat Qin Gang told his Ukrainian counterpart over a phone call on Thursday.
China, which has refrained from condemning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, has urged both sides to agree to a gradual de-escalation leading to a comprehensive ceasefire in its 12-point paper on the “political resolution of the Ukraine crisis”.
The plan, which received a lukewarm welcome on both sides, called for the protection of civilians and respect for each other’s sovereignty.
“China hopes that all parties will remain calm, rational and restrained, and resume peace talks as soon as possible,” Qin told Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, according to a Chinese foreign ministry statement.
White House says Xi-Zelensky talks would be a ‘good thing’
Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit Russian Vladimir Putin as soon as next week and hold a virtual meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
The White House said that talks between Zelensky and Xi would be a “good thing,” but warned Beijing against taking a “one-sided” view of the conflict.
“We think it would be a very good thing if the two of them talk,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
“We support and have supported” contact, Kirby said. But he cautioned against a Chinese push for a ceasefire in Ukraine, saying it would simply help Russian aggression.
’MiG-29 jets in coming days
Poland will send Ukraine four MiG-29 fighter jets in the coming days, the president said, making it the first of Kyiv’s allies to provide such aircraft.
One of Ukraine’s staunchest supporters, Warsaw has taken a leading role in persuading sometimes hesitant allies to provide Kyiv with heavy weaponry. It has said that any transfer of jets would be as part of a coalition.
“Firstly, literally within the next few days, we will hand over, as far as I remember, four aircraft to Ukraine in full working order,” Andrzej Duda told a news conference. “The rest are being prepared, serviced.”
Slovakia has also been considering whether to send MiG-29s to Ukraine but has yet to reach a decision. Denmark’s PM Mette Frederiksen said that the debate about sending fighter jets was ongoing.
“This is something we’re discussing in the group of allied countries. It’s a big wish from Ukraine,” she said.
Transfers of children is ‘a war crime’
Russia’s forced transfer and deportation of Ukrainian children to areas under its control amounts to a war crime, UN investigators said, adding that they are probing allegations of genocide in the Ukraine conflict.
Presenting their first report, the high-level team of investigators said they had determined that Russian authorities had committed “a wide range of war crimes” since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in Feb 2022 — and also warned of possible crimes against humanity.
But Erik Mose, chairman of the Commission of Inquiry (COI), said that so far they “have not found that there has been a genocide within Ukraine”.
Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2023