By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
KYIV/BAKHMUT (Worthy News) – The president of war-torn Ukraine said Wednesday he had held a meaningful dialogue with China’s leader after Beijing unveiled a peace plan to end the armed conflict between Kyiv and Moscow. Yet despite the talks between President Volodymyr Zelensky and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, there were no signs of peace returning to the frontline of an armed conflict in which hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed and injured.
Footage has emerged of Ukrainian troops storming a Russian trench in a terrifying assault on the Wagner group of mercenaries. It is one of the many ongoing battles in and around the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.
As clashes continue, China appears ready to mediate in Europe’s bloodiest armed conflict since World War Two. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on social media that he had a “long and meaningful” phone call with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
He added that the phone call and the appointment of Ukraine’s ambassador to China would, in his words, “give a powerful impetus to the development of our bilateral relations.”
Zelensky did not immediately give any other details. Xi has met Russian President Vladimir Putin since Russia’s invasion, but not Zelenskiy, despite the Ukrainian president’s pleas.
Wednesday’s talks came after China distanced itself from remarks of its top diplomat in France, who questioned the sovereignty of Ukraine and other former Soviet countries.
When asked about China’s view on the status of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, Paris ambassador Lu Shaye told French broadcaster LCI it wasn’t clear-cut.
He stressed that countries like Ukraine could not rely on international law to defend their sovereignty.
However, the Chinese Foreign Ministry rejected Lu’s position, saying Beijing “respected the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of all countries,” including Ukraine, and upheld the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter.
Beijing had previously tried to appear neutral in the war but refused to criticize Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Yet, the Chinese government released a peace proposal in February and called for a cease-fire and peace talks.
But there are no signs of peace nearing soon at the frontline around Bakhmut, where Ukrainian soldier Roman Trokhymets tries to hold his position. “Wow, there was crazy rocket shelling here. What can I say? Living in trenches is a very crazy thing,” he said in a video message.
“And I still can’t believe I am not in Kyiv but that I am here in the dirt and 24/7 in a very dangerous place. But our mission is not over. So we must continue fighting for our freedom and victory,” the soldier explained while showing garbage in his trench.
Kyiv wants to send him and others high-tech support, saying it is rapidly increasing its production of drones as demand grows on the front line.
A fundraising campaign funds the expansion called the Army of Drones. Kyiv claims more than $108 million has been raised with the help of celebrity supporters such as Star Wars film actor Mark Hamill.
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