China says it has sent a first shipment of humanitarian aid to war-torn Ukraine , as Beijing comes under growing pressure to mediate on the Russian invasion. Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the first batch of a 5 million yuan (US$791,300) emergency aid donation was dispatched from Beijing on Wednesday through the Red Cross Society of China. The food and other necessities were arranged at the request of Ukraine and would be delivered “as soon as possible through appropriate means”, Zhao told a regular press conference in Beijing. Zhao also expressed Beijing’s “strong opposition” to the latest sanctions on Russia’s energy sector by the United States, European Union and Britain, and said trade between China and Russia would continue – including oil and gas. “Frequently wielding the stick of sanctions will not bring peace and security but will only cause serious difficulties to the economy and people’s livelihoods in the relevant countries,” he said, adding that it would be a “lose-lose” or “all-lose” situation that would worsen division and confrontation. “China and Russia have always maintained good cooperation in the energy sector. The two sides will continue to carry out normal trade cooperation, including on oil and gas, in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit,” Zhao said. The announcement came after President Xi Jinping told French leader Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that China was willing to provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine during a video call on Tuesday. Xi also reiterated China’s opposition to sanctions on Russia during the call, saying they “would have an impact on global finance, energy, transport and supply chain stability” and could “drag down the world economy”, according to the Chinese government’s version of the call. He said he “deeply regretted the return of war to the European continent” and supported a diplomatic resolution to the crisis. And as the West pressures China to use its leverage with close ally Russia to intervene, Xi called for “maximum restraint” to be exercised to prevent a humanitarian disaster. “We must work together to reduce the negative impacts of this crisis,” Xi was quoted as saying. Beijing has refused to condemn Russia’s ongoing attack or call it an “invasion”, while saying it respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and recognising the “legitimate security concerns” of Moscow. Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday told the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell that China was “willing to continue to play a constructive role in de-escalating the situation to the best of its ability”. Earlier in the day Wang had told reporters that ties between China and Russia were “rock solid” and would not be influenced by any third party.