Can China mediate between Russia and Ukraine?

China's President Xi is due to travel to Moscow next week to meet directly with Ukrainian President Zelensky, media have reported citing unnamed sources. However, neither China nor Russia have confirmed this yet. Commentators assess the prospects of Chinese mediation being successful under the current circumstances.

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Dnevnik (SI) /

Already successful

Dnevnik sees big potential:

“The recent normalisation of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia under Beijing's auspices shows that Chinese mediation can be successful. China's proposed peace plan for Ukraine contains many pro-Russian elements, but it is actually the first attempt to create a peace agreement according to Zelensky's proposals. Given the tense geopolitical circumstances, it will be interesting to see what opportunities will open up for Xi Jinping to achieve a turnaround on such a complex battlefield, where Eastern and Western countries are united by the desire for peace, but diverge on all other issues.” (UA) /

Chinese mediation for Chinese interests discusses the motives behind the initiative:

“It is very important for Xi to show that he is a global player and has more authority than US President Joe Biden. This became clear when Saudi Arabia and Iran signed a declaration on the resumption of diplomatic relations in Beijing. It showed that although Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally of the US, China can act as a mediator because, unlike the US, it has good relations with both countries. At a time when Washington has no real contact with Putin, Xi can now play the same game here. ... Let's not forget that China has its own interests in its relations with the US, Russia and the EU. Beijing is willing to use the war in Ukraine to protect them.”