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President Xi to visit Putin in biggest show of China’s support for Russia since start of war in Ukraine

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Russia next week in an apparent show of support for Vladimir Putin.

China has long declared a “boundless” friendship with Russia and refused to condemn Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine – while saying the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected.

The Kremlin on Friday March 17 also announced the visit, specifying that it will take place “at the invitation of Vladimir Putin”.

The talks will take place from Monday to Wednesday and will focus on “deepening” relations and “strategic cooperation” between the two regimes.

Xi last visited Russia in 2019 and Putin himself attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing last year.

Xi and Putin will discuss “issues of the further development of a comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction between Russia and China”, as well as an exchange of views “in the context of deepening Russian-Russian cooperation”. China on the international stage,” the Kremlin said in a statement. statement.

The two leaders will also sign “important bilateral documents”, the statement said.

Beijing also condemned Western sanctions and accused NATO and the United States of provoking Russia.

Putin invited Xi to visit Russia during a video conference the two men held in late December.

The visit, Putin said, could “demonstrate to the whole world the strength of Russian-Chinese ties” and “become the main political event of the year in bilateral relations”.

In a 12-point position paper on the war released last month, China called for dialogue and respect for the territorial sovereignty of all countries.

China and Russia are also strategic allies, with both sides frequently touting what they call a “limitless” partnership.

Beijing’s Foreign Ministry did not confirm whether Xi also planned to hold a rumored call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky when asked during a routine press conference on Friday.

China’s foreign minister on Thursday urged Kyiv and Moscow to resume peace talks “as soon as possible,” while Kyiv said the call also underlined the importance of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

In the rare phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart, the Chinese foreign minister said Beijing is concerned about the year-long bitter conflict with Russia that is spiraling out of control.

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