Kremlin says it backs China's refusal to take part in Ukraine peace summit

Russian President Putin holds his annual press conference in Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Friday that Moscow supported China's refusal to take part in a peace summit on Ukraine next month in Switzerland because it was futile to hold such an event without Russia's participation.

The talks were convened at the initiative of Ukrainian President Zelenskiy who has said Russian President Vladimir Putin should not attend.

Switzerland has not invited Russia, which sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February 2022 in what it called a special military operation which Kyiv and the West describe as an illegal war of conquest.

China has confirmed it will not attend the Swiss event, four sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters earlier on Thursday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that China's decision showed that Beijing understood that holding such an event without Russia would be pointless.

"China spoke from the very beginning about the absolute futility of holding such formats without Russia's participation," said Peskov.

"Seeking a way out of the situation in the Ukrainian conflict without Russia's participation is absolutely illogical, futile and a waste of time.

"China has stated this from the outset, and here in this respect our position is absolutely identical to that of the People's Republic of China. We support this approach," he said.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Andrew Osborn)