Ukraine has invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to participate in a planned “peace summit” of world leaders in Switzerland, a top diplomatic adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, as Russia’s invasion approaches its second anniversary.

China has close ties with Russia and has refrained from criticizing its invasion of Ukraine but has also said the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected and has offered to help mediate in the conflict.

“We are definitely inviting China to participate in the summit, at the highest level, at the level of the President of the People’s Republic of China,” the adviser, Ihor Zhovkva, told Reuters in an interview this week.

“China’s participation will be very important to us. We are working with the Chinese side. We involve our partners in the world so that they convey to the Chinese side how important it is to participate in such a summit.”

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China’s Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a “no limits” partnership in Beijing just three weeks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on  Feb. 24, 2022. Since then, China has dramatically increased its Russian energy imports.

Putin says the invasion was necessary to protect Russia’s own security, while Kyiv and the West say it is an unprovoked war of aggression and a land grab.

Neutral Switzerland agreed to host the Ukraine peace summit on Ukraine at Zelenskyy’s request but no date or venue has yet been set. Zhovkva said teams were still working on the details.

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Peace plan

Zhovkva also said the national security advisers of a record 82 countries had taken part in talks this month in the Swiss town of Davos that focused on Ukraine’s 10-point peace plan.

Russia has not been invited to the planned summit and has previously said Ukraine’s 10-point plan will come to nothing.

That plan envisages the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, withdrawal of all Russian troops, protection of food and energy supplies, nuclear safety, and the release of all prisoners of war.

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“We will talk about a certain road map (at the summit) to implement this (peace) formula,” said Zhovkva.

Ukraine is scrambling to maintain international support amid signs of war weariness among its Western allies after the failure of Kyiv’s counteroffensive last year to bring a breakthrough on the battlefield. The frontlines have remained little changed and the war in Gaza has recently become a more pressing focus of global attention.

Zhovkva hailed the participation of many countries from the Global South at the Davos talks, saying Ukraine hoped to maintain this level at the summit.

China’s representative participated in a meeting on Ukraine in Saudi Arabia last summer, and Xi and Zelenskyy have also spoken by phone.

Beijing last year put forward its own 12-point plan for peace in Ukraine that involves declaring a ceasefire but does not stipulate that Russia should withdraw from any of the territory it has seized.

Russia denies Putin reaching out to US

The Kremlin on Friday denied a Bloomberg report that President Vladimir Putin was “putting out feelers” to the United States for possible talks on ending the war in Ukraine and might consider dropping key demands on Ukraine’s security status.

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The Bloomberg report said Putin was “testing the waters” on whether Washington was ready to engage in talks, and had reached out to the United States via indirect channels.

It cited two people close to the Kremlin as saying Putin “may be willing to consider dropping an insistence on neutral status for Ukraine and even ultimately abandon opposition to eventual NATO membership – the threat of which has been a central Russian justification for the invasion”.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was asked by reporters about the story, and specifically whether Moscow was really ready to give up its demands on neutrality and NATO.

“No, this is a wrong report. It absolutely does not correspond to reality,” Peskov said.

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