Volodymyr Zelensky made the appeal in an interview with the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post newspaper, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
Zelensky said of China: “It’s a very powerful state. It’s a powerful economy … So [it] can politically, economically influence Russia.”
He noted that "China is [also a] permanent member of the United Nations Security Council."
The Ukrainian leader is seeking “direct talks” with China’s Xi Jinping to help end the Russian invasion of Ukraine, South China Morning Post reported.
Belarus special forces ordered to 'hold combat-readiness check'
Meanwhile, Belarusian special forces have been ordered to "hold a combat-readiness check," the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Thursday.
On the front lines, Russian forces continued to shell various regions of Ukraine, it added.
Fighting in southern, northern Ukraine
Russian tanks and artillery fired at some 30 settlements in southern Ukraine, including the area around the city of Mykolaiv, Ukraine’s military command said.
On the Kharkiv front in the northeast of the country, Russian forces conducted assaults on Kharkiv City, Dementiivka, Korobochkyne and many other settlements, according to the Ukrainian General Staff.
Russian shelling also continued in the northern Chernihiv Oblast and the northeastern Sumy Oblast, Ukraine’s military command said.
Russia playing on West’s fears of nuclear disaster: ISW
The US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has warned that "Russian forces are likely using Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Enerhodar to play on Western fears of a nuclear disaster in Ukraine, likely in an effort to degrade Western will to provide military support to a Ukrainian counteroffensive.”
In its latest analysis of the war in Ukraine, published on Wednesday night, the US think tank cited International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Grossi as saying that Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), occupied by Russian forces, was “completely out of control” and that “every principle of nuclear safety has been violated” at the plant.
Grossi warned on Wednesday that Russian forces were "not respecting the physical integrity of the plant” and appealed to Russia and Ukraine “to quickly facilitate a visit of IAEA monitors to the complex,” the ISW noted.
Russian Zaporizhia Occupation Administration Head Evgeniy Balitskyi responded that the IAEA was welcome at the plant, the US experts said.
“We are ready to show how the Russian military guards it today, and how Ukraine, which receives weapons from the West, uses these weapons, including drones, to attack the nuclear plant, acting like a monkey with a grenade,” Balitsky said, as quoted by the ISW.
According to the US think tank, “Russian officials are framing Ukraine as irresponsibly using Western-provided weapons and risking nuclear disaster to dissuade Western and other allied states from providing additional military support to Ukraine’s looming southern counteroffensive.”
Ukraine says Russia’s Wagner Group set fire to Olenivka prison camp
The ISW also noted that Russian forces “likely set fire to the prison complex holding Ukrainian POWs in occupied Donetsk Oblast but blamed Ukraine for an alleged precision strike using Western-supplied military equipment, likely to deter additional Western military support to Ukraine.”
Ukraine’s military-intelligence agency (HUR) reported that it has determined that “the Wagner Group deliberately set fire to the prison complex on July 28," the US analysts wrote.
They added: “This report is consistent with the damage observable in Russian-provided video of the site.”
The ISW pointed out that “Russian officials previously claimed that the deaths of the POWs were the result of a Ukrainian HIMARS strike, likely as a component of the ongoing Russian information operation attempting to dissuade the US from continuing to provide Ukraine with HIMARS [advanced rocket systems].”
'Limited ground attack northwest of Slovyansk'
In other developments, Russian forces “conducted a limited ground attack northwest of Slovyansk and continued efforts to advance on Bakhmut from the northeast, east, and southeast,” the US think tank said.
The US experts added that Russian troops were "prioritising frontal assaults on Avdiivka and failed to gain ground in Pisky.”
Russian forces 'forming strike group' in Kherson region
Meanwhile, Russian forces “are reportedly forming a strike group to prevent Ukrainian counter offensives in northern Kherson Oblast or counterattack against them,” the ISW said.
Iran to supply Russia with drones?
The think tank also reported that Moscow was "likely continuing efforts to leverage its relationship with Tehran in order to secure drones for use in Ukraine.”
Russian occupation authorities “may allow both in-person and online voting in upcoming pseudo-referenda on the annexation of occupied Ukrainian territory into Russia, enabling more straightforward Russian vote rigging,” the US analysts warned.
Thursday is day 162 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Source: PAP, scmp.com, facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua, understandingwar.org