On February 24, the anniversary of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, China put forward a 12-point plan calling for a ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia and a gradual de-escalation of the situation that will pave the way for peace talks and respect for national sovereignty.
The plan does not specifically say that Russia must withdraw its troops from Ukraine but does call for an end to Western sanctions against Russia. It proposes the establishment of humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians and steps to ensure the export of grain after disruptions caused global food prices to spike last year.
China, while claiming to be neutral in the conflict, has a “no limits” relationship with Russia. It has never criticised Moscow’s acts nor referred to it as an invasion. However, it has accused the West of provoking the conflict and “fanning the flames” by providing Ukraine with arms.
US President Biden said the Chinese peace plan was “not rational” and would only benefit Russia. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Beijing “doesn’t have much credibility” because it had “not been able to condemn the illegal invasion of Ukraine”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that China discussing Ukraine “was not bad” and that he plans to meet China’s leader Xi Jinping to discuss the proposals. However, he also said that he disagrees with some of the plan’s proposals.