Kremlin spokesperson says the leaders were likely to include over dinner, a ‘detailed explanation’ of Moscow’s actions in Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets (left) China’s President Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow Monday. PIC/AFP
Russian President Vladimir Putin warmly welcomed Chinese leader Xi Jinping to the Kremlin on Monday, a visit that sent a powerful message to Western leaders allied with Ukraine that their efforts to isolate Moscow have fallen short. Xi’s trip — his first abroad since his re-election earlier this month — showed off Beijing’s new diplomatic swagger and gave a political lift to Putin just days after an international arrest warrant was issued for the Kremlin leader on war crimes charges related to Ukraine.
The two major powers have described Xi’s three-day trip as an opportunity to deepen their “no-limits friendship.” China looks to Russia as a source of oil and gas for its energy-hungry economy, and as a partner in standing up to what both see as U.S. domination of global affairs. The two countries, which are among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, also have held joint military drills.
They shook hands before sitting down and making brief statements at the start of their meeting, calling each other “dear friend” and exchanging compliments. Putin congratulated Xi on his re-election and voiced hope for building even stronger ties. “We will discuss all those issues, including your initiative that we highly respect,” he said. “Our cooperation in the international arena undoubtedly helps strengthen the basic principles of the global order and multipolarity.” Xi thanked Putin for the congratulations on his re-election and noted Russia was the site of his first foreign trip after that.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that over dinner, Putin and Xi will likely include a “detailed explanation” of Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. Broader talks involving officials from both countries on a range of subjects are scheduled for Tuesday, he added. Xi’s trip came after the International Criminal Court in The Hague announced Friday it wants to put Putin on trial for the abductions of thousands of children from Ukraine.
China portrays Xi’s visit as part of normal diplomatic exchanges and has offered little detail about what the trip aims to accomplish, though the nearly 13 months of war in Ukraine cast a long shadow on the talks. At a daily briefing in Beijing on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Xi’s trip was a “journey of friendship, cooperation and peace.” On the war, Wang said, “China will uphold its objective and fair position on the Ukrainian crisis and play a constructive role in promoting peace talks.”
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