PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday said he would visit China in early April and called on Beijing to “help us pressure Russia” to end the war in Ukraine.
Speaking a day after China called for urgent peace talks as it released its plan to end the war in Ukraine, Macron said peace was only possible if “the Russian aggression was halted, troops withdrawn and territorial sovereignty of Ukraine and its people was respected”.
Kazakhstan backs China’s Ukraine plan before Blinken visit
Russian ally Kazakhstan expressed support on Saturday for a Chinese initiative to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, days ahead of a visit by the US Secretary of State.
Kazakhstan’s foreign ministry said it welcomed China’s position “on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis”.
In a statement, the ministry said the proposal “deserves support as contributing to the cessation of bloodshed”.
Kazakhstan, which shares a 7,500 kilometre (4,660 mile) border with Russia, on Saturday also emphasised the importance of “territorial integrity” in China’s plan.
Kazakhstan is part of various military and economic alliances with Russia but has refused to support the attacks on Ukraine or recognise the Kremlin’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions.
At the same time, it has abstained or voted against UN resolutions condemning Russia.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan next week before going to New Delhi for a G20 foreign ministers’ meeting, also due to be attended by Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.
China’s 12-point paper calling for a “political settlement” of the crisis has been greeted with scepticism by Western leaders but Ukraine and Russia have expressed cautious support.
Timed to coincide with the first anniversary of Russia’s assault on Friday, the paper urges all parties to “support Russia and Ukraine in working in the same direction and resuming direct dialogue as quickly as possible”.