Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed Chinese leader Xi Jinping to the Kremlin on Monday, in a visit that sent a powerful message to Western leaders allied with Ukraine that their efforts to isolate Moscow have fallen short.
As he greeted Mr Xi, Mr Putin also said he welcomed his plan for “settlement of the acute crisis in Ukraine”.
Mr Xi’s visit showed off Beijing’s new diplomatic swagger and gave a political lift to Mr 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 Mr 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 US domination of global affairs.
The two countries, which are among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, have also held joint military drills.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that, over dinner on Monday, the two leaders’ discussions are likely to 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, Mr Peskov said.
In an article published in the Chinese People’s Daily newspaper, the Russian president described the Chinese leader’s visit as a “landmark event” that “reaffirms the special nature of the Russia-China partnership”.
Mr Putin also specifically said the meeting sends a message to Washington that the two countries are not prepared to accept attempts to weaken them.
“The US policy of simultaneously deterring Russia and China, as well as all those who do not bend to the American diktat, is getting ever fiercer and more aggressive,” he wrote.
March 20, 20231:41 PM EDT
The Kremlin said on Monday that talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping were still continuing after almost four hours, Russian news agencies reported.
“The conversation is still going on,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the RIA news agency.