(Brussels) China must dialogue “ directly ” with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky if it wants its peace plan to be taken seriously, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday.

Russian Head of State Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met in Moscow on Tuesday for new discussions devoted to the conflict in Ukraine and the strengthening of “strategic” relations between their two countries against the West.

Mr Putin said he was ready to discuss a Chinese initiative to end this conflict, based on a document published last month by Beijing and calling in particular for peace negotiations.

“ It is up to Ukraine to decide what are the acceptable conditions for any peaceful solution ”, recalled Jens Stoltenberg during a press briefing at the headquarters of the Atlantic Alliance in Brussels for the presentation of the activity report of NATO in 2022.

“China must understand Ukraine’s point of view and engage directly with President Zelensky,” he said.

“Any peace solution for Ukraine must be based on respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine,” he insisted.

“A ceasefire or any solution that does not respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity will only be a way to freeze the war and allow Russia to rebuild its forces and attack at new. It will not be a just and lasting peace,” he warned.

Jens Stoltenberg also once again urged Beijing not to supply arms to Russia.

“We have no evidence that China is supplying weapons to Russia,” he recalled.

“China must not provide lethal aid to Russia. That would be supporting an illegal war, prolonging the war and supporting the illegal invasion of Ukraine. This is something that China should not do,” he pleaded.

NATO and China are not partners. However, the Atlantic Alliance does not consider this country as an adversary, it is specified in the report published on Tuesday.

“ The new strategic concept adopted by the Alliance at the Madrid summit in June 2022 identifies Russia as the most important threat to our security, along with terrorism, and makes it clear that China challenges our interests, our security and our values ” , said Jens Stoltenberg again.