China has wrapped the cloak of neutrality around itself, saying that it wants peace talks leading to a political settlement in Ukraine.

Mao Ning, a Chinese spokesperson, said: “China’s position on the Ukraine crisis is consistent and clear. We have maintained communication with all parties concerned, including Ukraine.”

That is true, but it is only part of the truth. China’s communication with Russia is at the highest level, with multiple contacts between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, occurring in the last 12 months. By contrast, Xi hasn’t spoken even once with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian leader.