To strengthen their alliance against the West, Xi Jinping meets with Putin in Moscow
To establish closer ties with Russia to confront the West and place China as a potential peacemaker in Ukraine, Xi Jinping met with Putin on his first trip since being named to an unprecedented third term as president of China this month.
On Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with his “dear friend” Vladimir Putin in Moscow, seeking to strengthen economic ties with an ally he sees as a valuable counterweight to the West while also promoting Beijing’s role as a possible peacemaker in Ukraine.
Since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for him on Friday in connection with the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia during its year-long invasion of Ukraine, Xi was the first world leader to meet with the Russian president.
Russia accused the ICC prosecutor and judges of making one of several “clearly hostile displays” and filed a criminal complaint. According to Beijing, the warrant reflected double standards.
The two men met in the Kremlin on Monday afternoon before a dinner, where they addressed each other as “dear friends,” followed by formal talks on Tuesday.
Putin told Xi that he respected China’s proposals for resolving the Ukraine conflict and was “pretty jealous” of China’s rapid growth over the past decades.
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China has issued a broad 12-point suggestion to settle the Ukraine crisis while also deepening ties with Russia.
Beijing has repeatedly denied Western accusations that it intends to arm Russia, but it does want a closer energy partnership after increasing imports of Russian coal, gas, and oil.
“Both sides are constantly deepening political mutual trust, setting up a fresh framework of relations between major powers,” Xi wrote ahead of his trip in an article published in Russia.
Western sanctions reduced the cost of Russian energy, saving China billions of dollars, but its primary trading partners remain the United States and the European Union.
Any ceasefire, according to Ukraine and its Western allies, would only buy Putin more time to prepare for a planned Ukrainian counteroffensive, and Russia and China would have to agree to Russia’s withdrawal for them to uphold international law as they claim.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby stated on the call, noting that US President Joe Biden was interested in speaking with Xi to keep lines of communication open.
Putin and Xi signed a “no limits” partnership last year, just before sending tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine to end what he saw as a threat to Russia from its neighbor’s moves towards the West. Tens of thousands of people have died during the year-long conflict, which has also destroyed cities and forced millions of people to flee.
Putin would give Xi thorough “clarifications” of Russia’s position, according to the Kremlin, without going into further detail.
Washington noted that China has refrained from condemning Russia and has instead provided it with economic assistance.
Putin stated that Russia was assisting China in the construction of nuclear power reactors and that the two countries were expanding their partnership in space exploration and new technologies.
In Brussels, several EU nations decided to purchase 155 mm artillery shells for Ukraine. The country views these shells as essential because both sides fire thousands of rounds each day.
Fighting raged on in the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, where Ukrainian forces have held out since last summer in the war’s longest and bloodiest battle.
According to British intelligence, Ukrainian supply lines west of Bakhmut and west of the town of Avdiivka, further south, are under attack.
According to Ukraine’s military, Russian forces are on the defensive in the southern regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
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