Putin: “Dear friends”, Xi and Putin meet in Moscow as war in Ukraine rages

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with his “dear friend” Vladimir Cheese fries in Moscow on Monday, seeking both to deepen economic ties with an ally he sees as a useful counterweight to the West and to promote Beijing’s role as a potential peacemaker in Ukraine.
Xi was the first leader to meet the Russian president since the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday issued an arrest warrant for him for deporting Ukrainian children to Russia during his invasion of Ukraine. , which has been going on for a year.
Moscow said the accusation was one of many “clearly hostile protests” and opened a criminal case against the ICC prosecutor and judges. Beijing said the mandate reflected a double standard.
Russia is touting Xi’s trip, his first since winning an unprecedented third term this month, as proof it has a powerful friend in its standoff with a hostile West.
The two men greeted each other as “dear friends” when they met in the Kremlin on Monday afternoon before a dinner, followed by formal talks on Tuesday.
Putin told Xi he viewed China’s proposals for a resolution to the Ukraine conflict with respect and was also “mildly envious” of China’s rapid development in recent decades.
“China has created a very effective system to develop the economy and strengthen the state. It is much more efficient than in many other countries,” he said.
For Xi, the visit is a diplomatic tightrope.
China has released a sweeping 12-point proposal to resolve the Ukrainian crisis, while strengthening relations with Moscow.
Beijing has repeatedly dismissed Western accusations that it was planning to arm Russia, but says it wants a closer energy partnership after boosting imports of Russian coal, gas and oil.
“Both sides are continuously building mutual political trust, creating a new paradigm of great power relations,” Xi wrote in an article published in Russia ahead of his trip.
Western sanctions have made Russian energy cheaper, saving China billions of dollars, but its main trading partners remain the United States and the European Union.
Ukraine said China should pressure Russia to stop its invasion.
“We expect Beijing to use its influence on Moscow to end the war of aggression against Ukraine,” Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said.
Xi said China’s Ukraine peace proposal, an unspecific document released last month, reflected global views.
“Complex problems have no simple solutions,” he wrote in Rossiiskaya Gazeta, a daily published by the Russian government, according to a Reuters translation from Russian.
Western skepticism
Ukraine and its Western allies say any truce would give Putin time to build up strength before a planned Ukrainian counter-offensive and that for Russia and China to respect international law as they say they must accept the withdrawal of Russia.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby reiterated that call, adding that US President Joe Biden wanted to speak with Xi to keep communication channels open.
Putin signed a ‘limitless’ partnership with Xi last year shortly before sending tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine to end what he said was a threat to Russia from the movements of its neighbor to the West. The year-long war has killed tens of thousands, destroyed cities and forced millions to flee.
The Kremlin said Putin would provide Xi with detailed “clarifications” of Russia’s position, without giving further details.
Washington noted that China refused to condemn Russia and gave it an economic lifeline.
Putin said Russia is helping build nuclear reactors in China and the two countries are deepening cooperation in space exploration and new technologies.
As Western pressure on Russia mounts, Putin’s administration has told officials to stop using Apple iPhones over fears the devices are vulnerable to Western intelligence agencies, a newspaper reported Monday.
“Either throw it away or give it to the children,” Kommersant daily quoted a participant in the meeting as saying.
Justice ministers from around the world gathered in London on Monday to discuss support for the ICC, whose chief prosecutor Karim Khan has called on Russia to repatriate Ukrainian children to prove it is acting in their best interests as it says so.
Several European Union countries have agreed in Brussels to jointly purchase 155mm artillery shells for Ukraine, which considers them critical as both sides fire thousands of rounds every day.
Fierce fighting has continued in the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, where Ukrainian forces have held out since last summer in the longest and bloodiest battle of the war.
Taking its morning survey from the front, the Ukrainian military said defenders of Bakhmut, Lyman, Ivanivske, Bohdanivka and Hryhorivka – all towns in the Donetsk region – repelled 69 Russian attacks during the last day.
British intelligence said Ukrainian supply lines west of Bakhmut and west of the more southerly town of Avdiivka were under pressure.
The Ukrainian military said Russian forces were on the defensive in the southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.


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