Ukraine presses peace plan, points to N. Korean involvement in talks with Chinese envoy

(Reuters) -Senior Ukrainian officials, in a meeting with a Chinese regional envoy on Thursday, pressed Kyiv's plan to end the two-year conflict with Russia and presented what they said was evidence of North Korean weaponry supplied to Moscow.

Andriy Yermak, head of Ukraine's presidential administration, wrote on Telegram that he and his team presented the situation on the battlefield and Kyiv's peace proposals to Li Hui, China's special representative for Eurasian affairs.

Yermak said the Ukrainian side "discussed with Li Hui the prospects for establishing a just peace for Ukraine, the restoration of our country's territorial integrity and sovereignty on the basis of the Ukrainian peace formula".

Ukraine's peace plan, as presented by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, calls for removing all Russian troops, restoring Ukraine's 1991 post-Soviet borders and a process to make Russia accountable for its actions.

In a statement on Friday, the Chinese foreign ministry said Li "held frank and friendly talks" with Yermak, Ukraine's first deputy prime minister and foreign minister on both countries' ties and the Ukraine crisis, but gave no details.

Switzerland has pledged to stage a peace summit and several preparatory meetings have already taken place. Kyiv has been trying to cultivate good relations with Beijing, and China has attended at least one of the meetings, though Russia has not been invited.

Li, making his second trip to Europe, met a Russian deputy foreign minister in Moscow last week and said it was impossible to discuss a Ukraine settlement without Moscow's participation.

In his account of Thursday's talks, Yermak said they showed the Chinese delegation examples of fragments of downed missiles and weapons that North Korea made and gave to Russia to attack Ukraine.

Last month, Ukraine's prosecutor general said experts had found that Russia had fired at least 24 North Korean-made missiles over a period of several weeks.

Yermak's account of the meeting also said Ukraine raised what it described as Russian violations of international conventions on prisoners of war and how China might help secure the return of deported Ukrainian children.

Russia denies such deportations have taken place, saying children were removed from the war zone for their own safety.

(Reporting by Ron Popeski and Oleksandr Kozhukhar; Additional reporting by Liz Lee in Beijing; Editing by Josie Kao and Clarence Fernandez)