Russian President Vladimir Putin praised his counterpart’s “balanced” position on Monday Xi jinping on Ukraine and assured that he examines the Beijing peace plan “with respect”, at the beginning of the Chinese president’s visit to Moscow.
The Chinese president’s three-day state visit to Russia comes shortly after one year of the Russian offensive against Ukraine. “We are always open to negotiations. We will certainly talk about all these issues, including your initiatives, which we treat with respect,” Putin told Xi during a meeting broadcast on Russian television, assuring that Moscow and Beijing they have “numerous objectives in common”.
Putin added, “I know that you (…) have a fair and balanced position on the most pressing international issues.” While Xi jinping He celebrated the “close relations” between the two countries and their “global strategic cooperation.” China is “ready to stand firmly by Russia’s side” for the sake of “true multilateralism” and “multipolarity in the world,” she added.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for the world not to be “fooled” by China’s proposals to end the conflict in Ukraine, announcing another $350 million in military aid to Kiev.
Shortly before, the EU announced a package of 2,000 million euros to facilitate the delivery of ammunition to the Ukrainian artillery. For Beijing and Moscow, the goal is to show the strength of their relationship as the two countries face tensions with Western powers.
For Putin, the visit of Xi This is especially important when the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for him on Friday for “war crimes” in Ukraine.
After the “informal” meeting on Monday, which lasted four and a half hours, the Russian president accompanied his guest out of the Kremlin.
On Tuesday, the two leaders will have more official talks, and they are expected to sign agreements to deepen bilateral cooperation, particularly economic ones.
“Just and Lasting Peace”
Having participated in the recent diplomatic reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Beijing wants to position itself as a mediator in Ukraine. China has not publicly condemned the Russian offensive and criticizes the US for supplying weapons to Ukraine.
China presented a 12-point plan at the end of February to urge peace negotiations. His position has been criticized by Western countries, which consider that it provides diplomatic cover for the Russian offensive and that his proposals lack practical solutions.
The US has already indicated that it would not support a new Chinese ceasefire call during Xi’s visit to Moscow. Blinken said that Washington welcomes any diplomatic initiative for a “just and lasting peace,” but doubts that China is safeguarding Ukraine’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity.” “Calling for a ceasefire that does not include the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory would be effectively supporting the ratification of the Russian conquest,” he added.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the Chinese leader may be planning his first phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky since the start of the conflict. Ukraine urged Xi to “use his influence over Moscow to end the aggressive war” on its soil.
Xi’s visit also has an important economic aspect, after Russia refocused its economy on China over Western sanctions. According to the Kremlin, Putin and Xi will sign several documents, especially on their cooperation between now and 2030.
Xi’s visit allows Russia to show that it is not so isolated. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, when asked about the issue, said the court should “maintain an objective and impartial stance” and “respect the jurisdictional immunity of heads of state under international law,” urging the court to “avoid politicization and double standards.
In a defiant gesture, Putin visited the Ukrainian city of Mariupol on Sunday, his first trip to territory captured from Ukraine since the start of the offensive on February 24, 2022.
Jorge Wozniak -historian specializing in Russia and Ukraine- in conversation with Page 12, He explained that the US, as part of its “anti-Russian phobia” policy, tries with various accusations to show China as an unconditional ally of Russia. Because if successful, this could serve to hinder trade between China and the European Union through sanctions (the same thing is already happening to Russia and that is why the Americans are winning with this war). Wosniak added that “We must not forget that the US hegemonic conflict is not with Russia, but with China. So their actions are focused towards Asia, ultimately. And China proposed a peace agreement where it stands as equidistant between Russia and Ukraine. And in fact, Beijing stands in an ambiguous role when its peace proposal states that both the security of Russia and the territorial integrity of Ukraine must be respected. And this is a blow by approximation to the US because, if the Ukrainian unity in reference to the Donbass that Russia claims is to be respected, it would mean that it is also necessary to accept the “Chinese integrity” with respect to Taiwan, which they claim as a rebel or secessionist province. This is a very smart operation on the part of the Chinese.”
Despite the international echoes of the meeting regarding the war in Ukraine, the central axis of this visit is economic: the commercial exchange between both countries increased exponentially as a result of the war -the gas that Putin sold to Europe now goes to his most to China at a lower price – and everything seems to indicate that it will take Russia many years to regain European markets, if ever. For Russia, trading with China is the option left for economic development without American and European influence.
According to Wozniak, “various Russian media and officials speak of Zelenski as a puppet of the West. In the Chinese case, for a matter of appearing as possible mediators, they are very careful about a statement of this type, which does not mean that they do not agree with the opinion of the Russian government”.
The European Union sticks its tail
Contrary to what the US has been suggesting, the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, reiterated this Monday that he has “no evidence” that China is supplying Russia with weapons in the context of its war of aggression against Ukraine, nor that it intends to do so.
If China had been supplying Russia with weapons, he said, “we would know, because weapons are used.” Regarding “the so-called peace plan” presented by China during the UN General Assembly, Borrell stated that, “frankly, a very great intellectual effort is needed to consider it a peace plan.” “It is rather a compilation of China’s positions on the matter, which are well known. But I cannot go further in my assessment of what they have spoken, because I do not know him, ”he concluded about the meeting between Putin and Xi.