Russian President Vladimir Putin championed the much anticipated visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow on Monday and claimed it will give a “powerful new impetus” to the strong bilateral relationship between their two countries. The visit comes amid heightened tensions between the East and the West over the war in Ukraine, and more broadly, it signifies Beijing’s strong partnership with Moscow — or as both leaders have put it, a “friendship without limits.”
In an article posted Sunday on the official Kremlin website, Putin said Russia is “open to a political and diplomatic resolution” to the war in Ukraine, which China has so far not condemned, and added that a peaceful end to the conflict depends only on “the will to engage in a meaningful discussion taking into account current geopolitical realities.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he would speak to Xi about peace proposals, but has said under no circumstance would he be willing to grant Russia control over occupied Ukrainian territory as part of peace negotiations.
China has sought to project itself as neutral in the conflict, putting forth a 12-point plan that called for a cease-fire, peace talks and an end to sanctions against Russia, but stopped short of calling for a Russian withdrawal from Ukrainian territory. It has also accused NATO, the United States and the West of provoking the war.
Siobhán O’Grady and Kamila Hrabchuk in Kyiv contributed to this report.