China has confirmed it will not attend a Ukraine peace conference to be hosted by Switzerland next month, four sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Beijing declined the invitation because the conditions for them to participate were not met, including the participation of both Russia and Ukraine, three of the sources said.

The neutral Swiss government is seeking a broad-based turnout from different parts of the world for the summit on 15-16 June, which Bern hopes will pave the way for a peace process in Ukraine. Moscow was not invited.

China briefed diplomats this week that the conditions which were not met included that the conference should be recognised by both Russia and Ukraine, there should be equal participation by all parties, and there should be fair discussion of all proposals, one of the sources said.


China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Beijing supports the convening of a peace conference recognised by both sides with the equal participation of all parties, a foreign ministry spokesperson said Monday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday suggested that China could arrange a peace conference in which Russia and Ukraine could participate.

Ukraine in January invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to participate in the planned summit of world leaders in Switzerland. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy this week urged US President Joe Biden to attend, but Washington has not confirmed who it will send.

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China has close ties with Russia and has refrained from criticising its invasion of Ukraine, but has previously offered to help mediate in the conflict.

The Ukrainian, Russian and Swiss embassies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Switzerland was seeking to persuade more Global South countries, including China, to attend the conference.

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