Marcon says Russia becoming a vassal state as China envoy visits Ukraine, Russia
by AFP Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) May 14, 2023
Russia has “already lost geopolitically” its war in Ukraine war and is effectively becoming a vassal state of China, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview published Sunday.
“De facto, it has entered a form of subservience with regards to China and has lost its access to the Baltic, which was critical, because it prompted the decision by Sweden and Finland to join NATO,” Macron told the Opinion newspaper.
“This was unthinkable just two years ago. So it’s already a geopolitical defeat,” Macron said ahead of a visit to Paris by Ukraine’s President Volodoymyr Zelensky later Sunday.
“Let’s be clear, Russia must not win this war militarily. So it’s up to us to see how to help the Ukrainians with their counter-offensive, and how to prepare the issue of security guarantees in the negotiations that will inevitably take place,” he said.
“I’ve always said that in the end, Europe’s security architecture will have to fully defend Ukraine. But it must also envisage non-confrontation with Russia and rebuild a sustainable balance of forces,” he continued.
“But there are still many steps that must be taken before we get to that,” he said.
China special envoy to visit Ukraine, Russia
Beijing (AFP) May 12, 2023 –
China will send a special envoy to Ukraine, Russia and other European nations from Monday, Beijing said on Friday, the highest-ranking Chinese diplomat to visit the war-torn country since Moscow’s invasion last year.
From Ukraine to the Middle East, Beijing in recent months has sought to position itself as a mediator with a leading role in solving the world’s crises.
But while China says it is a neutral party on the Ukraine war, it has been criticised for refusing to condemn Moscow for the invasion.
More than a year into the war, Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky by phone last month.
Beijing then announced that Li Hui — China’s ambassador to Russia from 2009 to 2019 — would lead a delegation to Ukraine.
China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular press conference Friday that the aim of Li’s trip to Ukraine, Poland, France, Germany and Russia was to “communicate with all parties on the political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis”.
Li’s tour showed China’s “commitment to promoting peace and talks”, Wang said. “It fully shows that China firmly stands on the side of peace.
“China is willing to continue to play a constructive role in building more international consensus on the ceasefire, the cessation of war, the opening of peace talks, and the avoidance of escalation of the situation,” he added.
Qin Gang, China’s foreign minister who is currently in Norway, said of Li’s visit: “We all worry about the situation and we all call for peace and a political solution, which China stands for and has been calling for since day one of the outbreak of the conflict.”
But the choice of Li, the special representative of the Chinese government for Eurasian Affairs, has raised eyebrows.
Shortly before leaving Moscow as ambassador, he was awarded the Order of Friendship medal by President Vladimir Putin.
Xi’s phone call with Zelensky, described by the Ukrainian president as “long and meaningful”, follows Beijing’s publication in February of a 12-point position paper on Ukraine, which called for dialogue and respect for all countries’ territorial sovereignty.
The paper was panned by Western countries for its vague wording, though it prompted Zelensky to say he would be open to talks with Xi.
Its first point was that “the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries must be effectively upheld”.
But China has consistently refused to expand upon how that relates to the specifics of the Ukraine war.