Ukraine President Zelenskyy says China must not help Russia

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Australian university students that China must not help Russia in its war against his homeland and remain at least neutral.

Zelenskyy addressed 21 Australian universities Wednesday in an online discussion hosted by the Australian National University in Canberra. Questioned by a student about China’s stance, Zelenskyy said he would prefer Beijing join countries including the United States and Australia that have condemned the Russian invasion that began in February.

“As for now, China is balancing and indeed has neutrality and, I will be honest, this neutrality is better than China joining Russia,” Zelenskyy said through an interpreter from Ukraine.

“It’s important for us that China wouldn’t help Russia,” Zelenskyy added.

China has refused to criticize Russia’s war in Ukraine or even to refer to it as an invasion in deference to Moscow, while also condemning U.S.-led sanctions against Russia and accusing the West of provoking Moscow.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said imposing sanctions could act as a “double-edged sword,” and that the global community would suffer from “politicizing, mechanizing and weaponizing” global economic trends and financial flows.

Zelenskyy has addressed similar online university forums: in Canada in June and in Japan last month.

He thanked the Australian government for providing Ukraine with more support than any other country outside NATO.