EU welcomes Xi-Zelensky talks

Brussels welcomed Wednesday's conversation between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, thought to be their first call since Russia invaded Ukraine.

"It is an important, long overdue first step by China in exercising its responsibilities as a member of the UN Security Council," said European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer.

"China's leadership needs to use its influence to bring Russia to end its war of aggression, restore Ukraine's territorial integrity and respect its sovereignty, as a basis for a just peace."

Beijing says it is neutral in the Ukraine conflict and Xi has never condemned the Russian invasion, but the Chinese leader has come under increased pressure from Western nations to step in and mediate.

A 12-point "position paper" published by China in February was seen by many Western governments as skewed towards Russia, and a friendly Moscow visit in March by Xi to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin led to widespread criticism.

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