BEIJING: China's President Xi Jinping said he supported solving the Ukraine crisis through talks in a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, state media said Friday, after Moscow launched an invasion of its neighbour.
In a readout of the call on state broadcaster CCTV, Xi pointed out that the "situation in eastern Ukraine has undergone rapid changes... (and) China supports Russia and Ukraine to resolve the issue through negotiation".
Russian forces have launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, unleashing air strikes and sending troops deep into the country, after weeks of diplomatic efforts failed to deter Putin from launching the military operation.
Beijing has trod a cautious diplomatic line on the crisis and refused to call it an "invasion" or condemn the actions of Russia, its close ally.
Xi said on the call with Putin it was important to "abandon the Cold War mentality, attach importance to and respect the reasonable security concerns of all countries, and form a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism through negotiations".
According to the Chinese media readout, Putin outlined the reasons for Russia launching the "special military operation", and told Xi that NATO and the United States had "long ignored Russia's reasonable security concerns".
He also told Xi on the call that Russia was ready to hold "high-level" talks with Ukraine.
As the crisis has escalated, China has been forced to balance its close Russia ties with major economic interests in Europe.
And Moscow's approach is in stark contrast to China's long-standing stated foreign policy position of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs.
Xi said China was "willing to work with all parties in the international community to advocate a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security concept, and firmly safeguard the international system with the United Nations at the core", according to the CCTV readout.