Ukraine invasion: Presidents of China, Belarus call for peace, ceasefire

China President Xi Jinping and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko called for the "soonest possible" peace deal for Ukraine at talks in Beijing on Wednesday (local time), the Belarusian state news agency Belta reported.

Their summit brought together two of the foreign leaders on whom Russian President Vladimir Putin is most reliant for support as his army struggles to achieve the goals of its year-old invasion.

Belta said they issued a joint statement in which they expressed "deep concern about the development of the armed conflict in the European region and extreme interest in the soonest possible establishment of peace in Ukraine".

"Belarus and China are interested in averting an escalation of the crisis and ready to make efforts to restore regional peace and order," it added in its report on the declaration.

Beijing has become increasingly vocal in calling for peace as the Ukraine conflict drags on, and denied it would provide arms to Moscow after US officials said China was considering doing so.

Last week it issued a 12-point paper calling for a comprehensive ceasefire in Ukraine that largely summarised China's previous stance and was met with scepticism in the West.

In televised comments, Xi said China was keen to strengthen trust and cooperation with Belarus "given the instability and turbulence of the international situation".


Lukashenko said the meeting was taking place "in a very complicated time" and was necessary to prevent "an uncontrolled descent into a global confrontation which has no winners".

He said Xi, in his peace plan, had "clearly, definitively, pointedly declared this to the international community.

"This is why Belarus has been actively putting forward its peace proposals, and comprehensively supports your incentive on international security," he added.

China signed a "no limits" partnership deal with Russia just weeks before its invasion of Ukraine, and has refrained from criticising Moscow over the war.

Lukashenko allowed Putin to launch the invasion from Belarusian territory and has let Russia train newly mobilised soldiers at Belarusian bases, while saying he will not enter the war directly unless his country is attacked by Ukraine.

The summit produced a series of agreements to build on an "all-weather" partnership agreed between the two countries last year. They signed a range of cooperation documents in economy and trade, industry, agriculture, science and technology, health, tourism and sport, Xinhua News reported.

The Belarusian economy ministry said one of the agreements was on the planned creation this year of a free trade and investment zone. With a population of just 9.3 million, Belarus has a tiny economy compared with China's but is a major producer of fertiliser.