(Moscow) The Kremlin on Thursday ruled out the possibility of Chinese mediation to halt the fighting in Ukraine, saying Russia, which has suffered a host of military setbacks, had no choice but to continue its assault.

“Of course China has tremendous and effective potential when it comes to its mediation services,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“But the situation with Ukraine is complex, there is no prospect of a political settlement. And, at the moment, we have no other option but to continue the special military operation,” he added, using the Russian authorities’ euphemism to describe the offensive in Ukraine.

Mr Peskov was asked about the possibility of Chinese mediation, after French President Emmanuel Macron told Beijing that he was counting on his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, close to Vladimir Putin, to “bring Russia to its senses”.

At a summit in Moscow in March, MM. Putin and Xi have shown their good understanding, posing as strategic allies determined to resist American hegemonism.

China, for its part, has outlined the beginnings of a Ukrainian peace plan, but this remains very vague and very theoretical, Beijing insisting on contradictory principles, such as respect for the territorial integrity of States, and therefore for the Ukraine, and the defense of Russia’s diplomatic and security interests.

While Beijing says it is officially neutral, Xi has never condemned the Russian offensive and never spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukraine has repeatedly insisted that peace requires the withdrawal of Russian forces from all of its territory. Moscow, for its part, wants Kyiv to at least give up the five regions Mr. Putin has claimed should be annexed.