Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the South China Morning Post on Thursday that he would like to discuss his country’s war against Russia with the leader of Russia’s closest ally, Xi Jinping, “directly,” and invited China to help rebuild Ukraine once the war is over.
Zelensky’s discussion with the Morning Post, a Hong Kong newspaper, was the first with an Asian news outlet since Russia escalated its eight-year-old war against Ukraine into a full-scale invasion in February. Zelensky used the opportunity to request a personal discussion with Xi, a genocidal communist dictator who is largely bankrolling the invasion of Ukraine through large purchases of cheap Russian oil and gas.
Ukraine is a member of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global program to trap poor countries in predatory loans to China that they cannot afford. The loans are nominally meant to pay China for massive infrastructure projects. China was also Ukraine’s top trading partner prior to the war. Last year, Zelensky said he hoped that Ukraine would become a “bridge to Europe” for Chinese influence in his last conversation with Xi.