Russia's Lavrov tells China envoy 'serious obstacles' to Ukraine peace

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told China's special envoy Li Hui on Friday that there were "serious obstacles" to resuming peace talks, blaming Ukraine and Western countries.

"The Russian foreign minister reaffirmed Moscow's commitment to a political-diplomatic resolution of the conflict, noting the serious obstacles to the resumption of peace talks created by the Ukrainian side and its Western mentors," the foreign ministry said. 

During the meeting with Li, who was China's ambassador in Russia between 2009 and 2019, Lavrov also praised Beijing's "balanced" position on Ukraine. 

While China says it is a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict, it has been criticised for refusing to condemn Moscow for its offensive.

"Both sides expressed readiness to further strengthen Russian-Chinese foreign policy cooperation, invariably aimed at maintaining peace and stability in the region and on the planet as a whole," the Russian foreign ministry said.

The Chinese envoy's visit to the Russian capital came after Li met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv earlier this month.

Li has said there is "no panacea to resolve the crisis". 

Since the start of Moscow's assault on Ukraine, Beijing and Moscow have drawn closer under a partnership that has served as a diplomatic bulwark against the West.

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Moscow in March, saying ties were "entering a new era".