Zelenskiy accuses China of deterring countries from going to peace summit | Ukraine

Volodomyr Zelenskiy has accused China of discouraging other countries from attending a peace summit in Switzerland later this month that is aimed at bringing peace to war-ravaged Ukraine.

Speaking at Asia’s biggest security conference, the Shangri-La Dialogue, in Singapore, the Ukrainian president sought to rally support among Asia-Pacific nations, urging them to attend the Swiss meeting.

“The world has to be resilient, it needs to be strong, it has to pressure Russia,” Zelenskiy said. “There is no other way to stop Putin – only diplomatic isolation, a strong Ukrainian military and for all the countries of the world to not balance between Ukraine and Russia but to defend international justice and law.”

Zelenskiy said he was “disappointed” some world leaders had not yet confirmed attendance.

Russia was seeking to undermine the summit by warning countries not to attend and threatening a blockade of agricultural goods and food products, he said.

He later told media that China had supported such efforts to deter leaders from participating. “Regrettably, Russia, using Chinese influence on the region, using Chinese diplomats also, does everything to disrupt the peace summit. It is unfortunate that such a big, independent, powerful country as China is an instrument in the hands of Putin,” he said.

Since a phone call between Zelenskiy and the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, one year ago, Ukraine had sought meetings with Chinese officials at all levels, he said, but this had not been granted. He had not met Chinese officials despite their presence in Singapore.

Earlier on Sunday, the Chinese defence minister, Dong Jun, told attendees of the Shangri-La Dialogue his country had “been promoting peace talks with a responsible attitude”. “We have never provided weapons to either party of the conflict. We have put stricter control on the export of dual use items and have never done anything to fan the flames. We stand firmly on the side of peace and dialogue,” Dong said.

But Zelenskiy said: “With China’s support to Russia, the war will last longer and that is bad for the whole world. You cannot say that we accept sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and at the same time be on the side of the country that violates the principles of the UN charter and the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

Zelenskiy said on X he had met the US defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue on Sunday morning. “We discussed the key issues: the defence needs of our country, bolstering Ukraine’s air defence system, the F-16 coalition, and drafting of a bilateral security agreement,” he said.

He said he was grateful to Joe Biden for his decision to allow Ukraine to use US-supplied weapons against targets in Russia. However, in comments to media he said that this was not enough as Ukraine still did not have the systems or permissions to target airfields from which Russia was “permanently firing”.

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