Ukraine: Chinese envoy in Kiev to discuss political solution

A Chinese envoy sent by Beijing to discuss a “political solution” to the conflict is in Kiev on Wednesday, with new promises of Western arms to Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit expected to see China reduce its influence over Russia. uses.

“A meeting between the Ukrainian president and Li Hui is possible in the afternoon,” a senior Ukrainian official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The exchange would be the first between Mr. Zelensky, who encourages Beijing to weigh in, between Vladimir Putin and a senior Chinese official since the start of the Russian offensive on February 24, 2022.

Li Hui, special representative for Eurasian affairs and former Chinese ambassador to Moscow, is due to discuss a “political solution” to the Ukrainian conflict during a European tour that will also take her through Poland, France, Germany and Russia, according to Beijing. ,

China, a close ally of Moscow, has never publicly condemned the Russian aggression.

Beijing proposed a 12-point plan in February to end the war, which was viewed with suspicion by Westerners, and its president, Xi Jinping, visited Moscow in March, signaling Vladimir Putin to Westerners. Gave support

“At the end of the month, (Mr Hui) will come to us,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Roudenko was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency on Tuesday evening, without giving an exact date at this stage.

“The idea is to convey to these countries Chinese proposals for a conciliatory policy in Ukraine and to listen to the views and comments of the relevant interlocutors,” he said.

– “Weapon Flow” –

This visit by Li Hui to Kiev comes just after Volodymyr Zelensky’s European tour, during which he was promised new deliveries of the weapons needed to launch a major counter-offensive.

The war in Ukraine: the situation as of 17 May (AFP – )

They were heard at several points – anti-aircraft missiles, drones, armored vehicles … – and proceeded towards the delivery of Western fighters, a request from Kiev for almost 15 months.

French President Emmanuel Macron, in turn, announced that France would soon begin training Ukrainian pilots and the United Kingdom and the Netherlands said together on Tuesday evening that they would agree to a deal to supply American F-fighters.16 to the Ukrainian military. Want to create an “international alliance”.

Sending Western aircraft to Kiev, in addition to the Soviet MiGs already supplied by Poland and Slovakia, would be an undeniable added value for Ukraine.

Asked about the new Western deliveries, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday, “To see that the flow of arms and ammunition to Ukraine is increasing and the level of supplies of strategic and technical weapons is also increasing.” “.

– Bakhmout, always –

On the battlefield, Ukraine on Tuesday quantified for the first time its gains in days around the town of Bakhmout (East), on the flanks of which it is advancing at the very moment Russian forces are about to attack. control after months of bloody fighting

Ukrainian offensive in Bakhmut, the center of the fighting (AFP -)
Ukrainian offensive in Bakhmut, the center of the fighting (AFP -)

“In recent days, our troops have liberated about 20 square kilometers north and south of Bakhmut,” said Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Mlyar.

But this localized offensive does not appear to be the major offensive promised by Kiev for months, with Volodymyr Zelensky recently estimating that his forces “need more time”.

For its part, Russia itself claims to have made little further progress within Bakhmaut, a city now ravaged that it hopes to win after a series of humiliating setbacks.

According to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of Wagner’s paramilitary group, who announced the death on Tuesday in front of an American fighting alongside Ukrainians, the final reduction of 1.46 km2 in the city confronts his men on the front lines for months.

According to observers, such a capture would have little strategic importance during the war, if the city is shelled by the Ukrainian military.

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