French President Emmanuel Macron was on Monday set to warn Chinese leader Xi Jinping against backing Russia in the conflict over Ukraine but also seek to enlist his help in finding an end to the war.

Xi is making a state visit to France marking 60 years of diplomatic relations between France and China. The trip is his first to Europe since 2019 and will also see him visit Serbia and Hungary later in the week.

But Xi's choice of France as the sole major European power on his itinerary indicates the importance the leader of the one-party communist state of more than 1.4 billion people accords to Macron as an EU powerbroker over two years into Russia's invasion of Ukraine.