(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.

Russian President Vladimir Putin for his part spoke Thursday in the Kremlin with the leaders installed by Russia in four Ukrainian regions which it has claimed to be annexed in 2022.

Mr. Putin assured that the objective of the Russian army was to push the Ukrainians “to such a distance that they will not be able to inflict any damage on us”, despite a front line which has remained largely frozen since the last fall.

During these four short televised meetings, Vladimir Putin applied himself to treating the leaders of the occupation as during his traditional meetings with the governors of the Russian regions.

They thus mentioned social allowances for large families, the state of the roads after the snowfall or the lack of vegetable storage facilities, without saying a word about the fighting which is still raging.