Chinese leader Xi Jinping is putting on a show of solidarity with Russian President Vladimir Putin with his three-day state visit to Moscow that began on Monday.
The Kremlin said on Tuesday that Xi is spending his time in Russia’s capital negotiating and signing statements with Putin that seek to strengthen economic cooperation between their nations over the next decade — ties which offer Putin a lifeline after Western nations levied sanctions against Russia for its war in Ukraine.
In regard to the conflict, which has been going on for more than a year now, a joint statement Xi and Putin signed voiced support for “the international community to support constructive efforts” toward “responsible dialogue.”
Russia began what it called a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, in an ongoing conflict that has led to tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of millions of people.
The United States government, which has led a coalition of countries in instituting the financial penalties against Russia and sending Ukraine billions of dollars of lethal aid, rejected such calls for a ceasefire now as one that would cement Russia’s hold on territory its forces had taken. The U.S. announced on Monday that it would send Ukraine an additional $350 million in ammunition, weapons, and military vehicles.
Xi and Putin previously met just before the invasion of Ukraine began when they touted a “no limits” friendship between their countries. Building upon that bond this week, Xi declared “political mutual trust is deepening” between their two countries and “common interests are multiplying.”
The White House dismissed the notion that the world is witnessing the formation of an alliance as Xi and Putin held their latest round of talks. “I wouldn’t go so far to call it an alliance,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters. China and Russia have grown closer “over years now,” he insisted.
The high-level talks in Moscow come shortly after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin for alleged war crimes during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in particular the abduction of children, and the Russian leader’s visit to the captured city of Mariupol.
Xi is expected to call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the first time since the war began following his visit to Moscow, according to The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made an unannounced visit to Ukraine on Tuesday.