Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appointed Pavel Ryabikin, the former head of Ukraine’s ministry of strategic industries, as the country’s new envoy to China on Wednesday, following his first call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping since Russia’s invasion.
Ukraine has not had an ambassador to China since February 2021.
"[I hereby decree] to appoint Pavel Borisovich Ryabikin as Ukraine’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the People’s Republic of China,” Zelenskyy said, according to a presidential decree published on the leader’s website.
Zelenskyy said the appointment of the Ukrainian ambassador to China will ”give a powerful impetus" to the development of the two countries’ bilateral relations.
Xi Jinping also pledged long-term cooperation with Ukraine and said China will send a special minister of Eurasian affairs to the country, the South China Morning Post reported.
The envoy that Xi referred to is former vice-minister of foreign affairs Li Hui. Li was formerly China’s ambassador to Russia from 2009-2019 and was awarded Russia’s “Order of Friendship” during his final year of service.
The Order of Friendship is a Russian state decoration given to those who help enhance bilateral ties.
Li is expected to be the most senior Chinese official to step foot in Ukraine since the start of the war.