French President Emmanuel Macron says he intends to visit Beijing in the new year and to develop a mediating role with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, over the conflict in Ukraine.
"I am convinced China can play, on our side, a more important mediating role in the coming months, to prevent in particular a stronger return of a ground offensive in early February," said Macron during the G20 meeting in Bali.
Macron's comments imply that he believes Ukraine may have to be prepared to negotiate with Russia. Despite its recent successes, few military experts believe Ukraine can totally force Russian forces from its territory.
Russia fired as many as 85 missiles into Ukraine the day before two Ukrainian missiles landed in Poland, killing two people. The Russian missiles targeted energy infrastructure. Macron described it as "a terrible day for the Ukrainian people," possibly as a message to G20 members.
The initial draft declaration from the G20 leaders said "most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine" and ordered Russia's "complete and unconditional withdrawal" from its neighboring territory.
The draft also said, "There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions." China and India did not outright criticize the Kremlin's actions.
"The G20 has not looked away from the war in Ukraine. Even if Vladimir Putin did not come, the message sent to him was very clear, the vast majority condemns the war in Ukraine. That is a fact," said the French president.
"There is a space of convergence, including with the major economies China and India, to push to de-escalate," Macron added.
"We have brought together Senegal, Rwanda, South Africa, Argentina, and Mexico to create convergence and have a clear message vis-à-vis Russia, a complete call for Russia to end this war."
Macron repeatedly said the war must end with a general consensus. He had previously been rebuked for saying the war cannot end in humiliation for Russia.
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