“Kremlin meeting of ‘dear friends’ Putin and Xi showcases their alliance”
Xi Jinping Visits Putin at Kremlin Amidst International Controversy
On Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin, in what was Xi’s first foreign trip since securing an unprecedented third term earlier this month. Putin and Xi have repeatedly referred to each other as “dear friends” in public, and during their 4-1/2 hour informal talks on Monday, they reportedly discussed deepening economic ties and proposals for resolving the Ukraine conflict. Putin praised China’s “very effective system for developing the economy and strengthening the state”, while Xi predicted that Russians would re-elect Putin next year.
However, the visit comes at a contentious time for Putin, as just days earlier, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant accusing him of war crimes in Ukraine. Moscow denies the accusations, and has opened a criminal case against the prosecutor and judges responsible for the warrant. The timing of Xi’s visit has led to speculation that China is providing Russia with “diplomatic cover” to commit further crimes. The US has denounced Xi’s visit, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressing concern that China might call for a ceasefire that would allow Russian troops to stay in Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called for Xi to speak to him, while several European Union countries have agreed to buy 1 million rounds of 155 mm artillery shells for Ukraine. The United States has also announced a new military aid package, including ammunition for rocket launchers, howitzers, and infantry vehicles, as well as anti-tank weapons and river boats. Fierce fighting continues in the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, with both sides firing thousands of rounds per day.