China Actually Has A Decent Chance Of Negotiating A Russian-Ukrainian Ceasefire

China Actually Has A Decent Chance Of Negotiating A Russian-Ukrainian Ceasefire

By Andrew Korybko

The fast-moving sequence of diplomatic events that followed the release of China’s peace plan on Friday – Russia’s praise of it, Zelensky’s unexpected interest, his announcement that he hopes to soon meet President Xi, and then Lukashenko’s trip to Beijing next week – extends credence to this prediction. The very fact that the Ukrainian leader didn’t dismiss it outright like his American counterpart and other Western ones did is worthy of explanation since it defied many observers’ predictions.


Most observers are convinced that the Russian-NATO proxy war in Ukraine will be a protracted struggle due to each side’s polar opposite envisaged end game in this conflict, yet China actually has a decent chance of negotiating a Russian-Ukrainian ceasefire after the positive reaction to its official peace plan. It was expected that Moscow would praise Beijing’s pragmatic 12-step proposal yet few could have foreseen that Kiev would also be interested in it too.

Zelensky reacted by saying that “China started talking about Ukraine, and I think this is a good thing. But it actually begs the question, what will these words be followed with? The steps next are important”, after which he announced that he has plans to meet with Chinese President Xi in the coming future. Approximately 24 hours later, his Belarusian counterpart Lukashenko disclosed that he’ll be traveling to the People’s Republic on a state visit from 28 February-2 March.

It can’t be known for sure, but it compellingly appears as though he’ll discuss reviving the peace talks that his country hosted last spring but which were ultimately sabotaged by the UK at the US’ behest. Should that be the partial purpose behind his trip at this particular point in time, then it would likely then be the case that President Xi might soon visit Eastern Europe in an attempt to personally encourage his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts to resume this process or at least reach a ceasefire.

The Chinese leader was invited by President Putin late last year to visit Russia sometime this spring, and its top diplomat’s latest trip to Moscow last week was interpreted as paving the way for that event, especially after he met with his country’s host in the Kremlin. In light of Zelensky’s unexpected interest in China’s peace plan and his announcement that he intends to meet with President Xi, the latter would likely visit Kiev during the same regional sojourn and might also make a pit stop in Minsk too.

The fast-moving sequence of diplomatic events that followed the release of China’s peace plan on Friday – Russia’s praise of it, Zelensky’s unexpected interest, his announcement that he hopes to soon meet President Xi, and then Lukashenko’s trip to Beijing next week – extends credence to this prediction. The very fact that the Ukrainian leader didn’t dismiss it outright like his American counterpart and other Western ones did is worthy of explanation since it defied many observers’ predictions.

Zelensky might seriously be concerned about his Golden Billion patrons’ military-industrial reliability amidst the NATO chief’s belated admission that this de facto New Cold War bloc is in a “race of logistics”/”war of attrition” with Russia. In that scenario, it makes sense why he might intend to diversify from his near total dependence on its US leader by gradually engaging China, which is also occurring in the context of France, Germany, and the UK reportedly offering Ukraine a defence pact.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) broke the story on Friday, which was the one-year anniversary of Russia’s special operation and the same day that the previously mentioned sequence of diplomatic events began rapidly unfolding. This adds another dimension to everything since that development could serve as a compromise for allaying Kiev’s fears, both in the substantive but also soft power sense, that seriously exploring a ceasefire would amount to a tacit admission of defeat that’ll only embolden Moscow.

Europe has been the second-most directly affected party to the Ukrainian Conflict other than that former Soviet Republic itself within which this Russian-NATO proxy war is being fought so there’s a certain logic to its three most powerful countries coordinating their own possible peace plan. The US successfully reasserted its unipolar hegemony over the EU at the expense of the bloc’s objective interests, but while the UK immediately benefited from this, it too risks blowback over the long-term.

The combination of the collective Franco-German-British security pact with Kiev and China’s peace proposal could create the optics required for Zelensky to comparatively climb down from his absolutist-maximalist demands of Russia with a view towards pragmatically negotiating a ceasefire. Of course, this probably wouldn’t happen until both their reportedly planned offensives have been launched and there’s more clarity about their success or lack thereof, but it appears to be a credible scenario.

In that event, the Ukrainian leader might remain reluctant to recognize the ground realities that Russia demands as the condition for resuming the peace process, but President Xi’s diplomatic intervention in the coming future should be ultimately visit Kiev could greatly increase the chances of a ceasefire. He wouldn’t meet with Zelensky just for a photo-op, especially since the Chinese leader has only travelled abroad on three occasions and only in just the last half-year since the pandemic began three years ago.

The only reason why President Xi would visit Kiev to meet with Zelensky is if the latter is serious about there being a tangible outcome to this trip in terms of de-escalating his country’s conflict with Russia. The Ukrainian leader’s interest in China’s peace plan and the announcement that he plans to meet with his counterpart, which occurred against the backdrop of a reportedly proposed collective Franco-German-British security pact to Kiev and Lukashenko’s upcoming trip to Beijing, makes this possible.

To be clear, no prediction is being put forth confidently stating that this fast-moving sequence of diplomatic developments will successfully result in a Russian-Ukrainian ceasefire, but just that it nevertheless can’t be ruled out right now for the reasons that were explained. A lot can still happen and the US can always attempt to sabotage this process, which it’ll likely try to do (potentially even via a false-flag provocation) if a breakthrough appears imminent, so nobody should get their hopes up.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Voice of East.


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Categories: Geopolitics, International Affairs

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