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

Zelensky 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, Zelensky 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,” Zelensky said through an interpreter from Ukraine.

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

In this photo provided by the Australian National University Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyyappears on a screen during his online address to the university in Canberra, Australia, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022. Zelenskyy is addressing 21 Australian universities in an online discussion hosted by the Australian National University.
Australian students heard from the Ukrainian leader in an online address hosted by the Australian National University.
Tracey Nearmy/ANU via AP
In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, center, surrounded by ambassadors of different countries and UN officials, visits a port in Chornomork during loading of grain on a Turkish ship, background, close to Odesa, Ukraine, Friday, July 29, 2022.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits a port in Chornomork during the loading of grain on a Turkish ship on July 29, 2022.
AP

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.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk to each other during their meeting in Beijing, China, on Feb. 4, 2022.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk to each other during their meeting in Beijing, China, on Feb. 4, 2022.
AP
A Ukrainian woman walks amid the debris of a residential building following night shelling in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Kostiantyn Liberov)
The Ukrainian president’s statements come as the war in his country rages on, with areas such as Mykolaiv, shown here, continuing to be hit by shelling.
AP

Zelensky 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.

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