Xi-Putin meeting: Russia and China leaders play peacemaker on Ukraine, pledge closer ties

(CNN) Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin posed as peace brokers during a summit visit to Moscow on Tuesday, reiterating a plan to end Russia’s raging war in Ukraine that has been blocked by the United States as a unilateral attempt to hand over the Kremlin leader. He presses his invasion.

Putin on Tuesday backed the Chinese leader’s proposal for a “peaceful settlement in Ukraine,” a move that drew unanimity in the Kremlin.

But those revelations have been ignored as a serious framework for peace. China’s plan — what Calls for a ceasefire and talks, but included no provision for Moscow to withdraw its forces from Ukrainian soil — drawn up without any involvement by Kiev. Meanwhile, the US warned on Monday that Xi’s visit provided “diplomatic cover” for Russia’s war.

There was little sign that Tuesday’s rapprochement with the Kremlin had done anything to affect the state of the war in Ukraine, where Putin’s ground offensive has become mired in slow-moving trench warfare.

The Russian president said China’s plan “can be taken as a basis for a peaceful settlement in Ukraine, when the West and Kyiv are ready for it.”

“All of our talks today and yesterday were successful in a one-on-one format and with representatives, and took place in a friendly atmosphere,” Putin said in a joint statement to the media on the second day of Xi’s state visit to Moscow.

“I have developed a close relationship with President Putin over the past 10 years,” Xi added. “We agreed that the relations between our two countries go beyond ourselves. They are critical to world order and the future and destiny of all humanity.”

President Putin walks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Kremlin on March 21, 2023 in Moscow.
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According to one reading, Russia spoke favorably of China’s “objective and fair” stance on Ukraine, and both sides opposed any country or group of countries that would harm “the legitimate security interests of other countries in pursuit of military, political or other advantages.”

In recent weeks, China has repeatedly sought to portray itself as an eager broker of peace, reiterating calls for a ceasefire and peace talks. Ambiguously worded position paper released last month, even as Russia continues an offensive Mass humanitarian crisis And tens of thousands died.

But the West views Beijing’s intentions with deep suspicion, and the head of NATO said on Tuesday that the alliance had seen “some signs” of Russia pressuring China to provide lethal aid.

Along with comments on Ukraine, the two leaders emphasized their shared strategic visions and signaled a desire to boost ties on a number of issues, including energy.

“China is the leading importer of Russian oil, and at the same time Russia is ready to increase its supply of oil uninterruptedly for the needs of the Chinese economy,” Putin said.

Putin added that further development in Russian gas exports to China was discussed, including “the implementation of the initiative to build the Power 2 gas pipeline of Siberia through the Mongolian border.”

The pair raised a toast at the start of Tuesday’s dinner, during which Putin declared in a speech that “Russia-China relations are at an all-time high.”

‘Diplomatic Cover’

There is widespread skepticism about China’s position on resolving the conflict, centered on concerns that nothing Beijing has offered so far has reflected Ukraine’s demand that all Russian troops leave its territory.

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US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Monday Hit about Xi’s arrivalHe noted that this came days after the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued Arrest warrant To Putin.

“China has no responsibility to hold the Kremlin responsible for the atrocities in Ukraine, and instead of condemning them, Russia will provide diplomatic cover for those crimes to continue,” Washington’s top diplomat said.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Moscow on March 21, 2023.

“Any call for a cease-fire that does not include the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory would effectively support the assertion of a Russian victory” because it would “allow President Putin to rest, redeploy his troops, and then resume the war one step at a time. Much to Russia’s advantage,” he added. .

Oleksiy Danilov, the Ukrainian secretary of Ukraine’s National Defense and Security Council, said on Twitter that day that “successful implementation” of the Chinese “peace plan” must begin with the “surrender or withdrawal” of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory.

Xi’s visit to Moscow a Amazing trip to Ukraine Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported.

Xi invited Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin to visit China during a meeting on Tuesday morning, TASS reported.

Meanwhile, NATO said it was aware that Russia may have sought lethal aid from China to bolster Moscow’s war on Ukraine.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, accompanied by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko, walks past a guard of honor during a welcome ceremony at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, March 20, 2023.
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“We have not seen any evidence of China supplying Russia with dangerous weapons, but we have seen some indications that this was a request from Russia, and it is an issue that is being considered by Chinese officials in Beijing,” the alliance’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday.

“China should not provide dangerous aid to Russia. That would be supporting an illegal war,” Stoltenberg warned.

CNN’s Michael Conte, Kylie Atwood, Svitlana Vlasova, Anna Chernova, Duarte Mendonca, Xiaofei Xu and Wayne Chang contributed to this report.

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