UK calls for China to push Russia to end war in Ukraine as Xi and Putin meet

The UK urged China to call on Russia to end its war in Ukraine as President Xi Jinping held talks with President Vladimir Putin.

Downing Street said Beijing should encourage Moscow to “cease its illegal war” as the two leaders put on a strong show of unity at a summit on Thursday.

The Chinese leader earlier said he hopes Europe will return to “peace and stability” soon while Mr Putin thanked him for his efforts to resolve the “Ukraine crisis”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said later on Thursday: “We would urge China to encourage Russia to cease its illegal war against Ukraine. China has previously spoken out about the importance of protecting sovereignty and territorial integrity in Ukraine.”

Number 10 said pressing Beijing on the matter was “something we’ve engaged China in at all levels,” with foreign minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan having raised it with her counterpart on her visit to the country last month.

China has significant influence as a key supporter of Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

It continues to supply Moscow with key components that the Kremlin needs for its war machine, and its purchase of Russian oil and gas has helped boost the Russian economy.

The two leaders exchanged warm words in Beijing on Thursday as Mr Putin visited the country on his first international visit since tightening his grip on power following an election in which any real opposition was stifled.

They signed a joint statement on deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership between their two nations. Mr Xi said China and Russia will continue to uphold a position of non-alliance and non-confrontation.

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