Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told China’s special representative Li Hui on Friday that there were “serious obstacles” to resuming peace talks, blaming Ukraine and Western countries.

“The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia confirmed Moscow’s commitment to a political-diplomatic settlement of the conflict, noting the serious obstacles to the resumption of peace talks created by the Ukrainian side and its Western mentors,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

During the meeting with Li, who was the Chinese ambassador to Russia between 2009 and 2019, Lavrov also praised Beijing’s “balanced” position on Ukraine.

Although China says it is neutral in the Ukrainian conflict, it has been criticized for refusing to condemn Moscow for its offensive.

“Both sides have expressed their readiness to further strengthen Russian-Chinese foreign policy cooperation, always aimed at maintaining peace and stability in the region and on the planet as a whole,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation noted.

The Chinese ambassador’s visit to the Russian capital comes after Li met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv earlier this month.

The Wall Street Journal, citing Western officials, reported Friday that China is urging European governments to sign a peace agreement on the war in Ukraine that would give Moscow ownership of the Ukrainian territories it currently occupies.

Lee, who visited capitals across Europe before arriving in Moscow, reportedly pushed Western officials to agree to an immediate end to the 15-month conflict, even if it meant significant territorial losses for Kiev.

But Western officials who spoke to the WSJ doubted a ceasefire would be possible anytime soon, adding that China appeared more interested in keeping Russia from losing the war than acting as an impartial mediator in the talks.

China in February released a 12-point plan to end the war in Ukraine, but Western powers have rejected these proposals while warning against Beijing’s warming relationship with Moscow.

Lee said there is “no panacea to solve the crisis”.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday to sign a series of trade deals, during which he welcomed economic ties between the two countries.

Since the beginning of Moscow’s attack on Ukraine, Beijing and Moscow have grown closer in a partnership that has served as a diplomatic bulwark against the West.

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Moscow in March, saying the relationship was “entering a new era.”

This was reported by AFP.

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