Kuleba said that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was ready for a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He also added: “I don’t think that now is the time for China […] when it is ready to arm Russia.”

In an interview with the President Xi’s visit was announced, Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kubela said: “I don’t think China has reached the moment now when it wants to, when it’s ready to arm Russia. Nor do I think that this visit will result in peace… The visit to Moscow in itself is a message but I don’t think it will have any immediate consequences.”

The message, Mr Kuleba said, was “that China and Russia are very close, close enough for the Chinese leader to visit his Russian counterpart, who is not doing very well.

“And I think this is the message to the entire world, to the West but also most importantly, to the non-West, that Russia is not alone, that China is talking to them.”

The US is keen for Mr Xi and Mr Zelensky to be in contact. The US National Security Council’s spokesman said it would be “a very good thing if the two of them talk”.

On Thursday, China’s foreign minister urged Kyiv and Moscow to restart peace talks as soon as possible during a phone call with Mr Kuleba, who in turn said the two had discussed the “significance of the principle of territorial integrity”.