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Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping on Tuesday welcomed the entry into a “new era” of their “special” relationship with the West, the Russian president cautiously supporting the Chinese plan to settle the conflict in Ukraine, while accusing Kyiv of rejecting him.
The Chinese initiative, which advocates peace talks, includes elements that can “serve as a basis for a peaceful settlement [of the conflict], when they are ready for it in the West and in Kyiv”, launched Mr. Putin.
“However, we do not currently observe such a disposition on their side,” he added alongside Mr. Xi who, for his part, stressed that Beijing was “for peace and dialogue” in Ukraine.
In Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he “invited” China to be part of the conflict resolution and “await its response”, adding “to receive signals, but nothing concrete”.
MM. Putin and Xi were speaking after a summit in the Kremlin which, in the absence of a breakthrough in the conflict in Ukraine, was above all aimed at demonstrating the solidity of relations between Russia and China, amid heightened tensions between these countries and Westerners.
The Chinese president thus considered that relations between Beijing and Moscow were entering “a new era”, after signing a declaration with his Russian counterpart on “deepening the strategic partnership” between Russia and China.
The Kremlin ruler, who rolled out the red carpet for Xi for the state visit ending on Wednesday, hailed the “special nature of Russian-Chinese relations.”
In a joint statement with Cold War overtones, the two leaders also sharply attacked the West, accusing the United States of “undermining” international security to maintain its “military advantage”, and expressed their “concern” over NATO's growing presence in Asia.
Another echo of the Cold War, Russia and China have affirmed that a nuclear war must “never” take place, in the declaration signed by MM . Putin and Xi.
The Russian president also threatened to “retaliate” if London supplies Ukraine with shells containing depleted uranium, as was mentioned by a British official.
He was much warmer with his Chinese host, giving him “dear friend” and “comrade Xi”. The two leaders even toasted during a state dinner to the “prosperity” of the Russian and Chinese peoples.
“Russian-Chinese cooperation has truly unlimited possibilities and prospects”, s exclaimed Mr. Putin during this meal.
Mr. Xi's trip to Moscow is an important support for the Russian head of state, who has been targeted since last week by an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Treaty outcast by Westerners since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, Mr. Putin can count on Beijing to break the isolation: Mr. Xi has thus invited him to visit China this year.
Kishida in Ukraine < p>Coincidence of the calendar? As Xi showed support for Moscow, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrived in Ukraine on Tuesday, where Zelensky hailed a “powerful defender of international order.”
M . Kishida went in particular to the martyred city of Boutcha, near Kyiv, where Russian soldiers are accused of committing atrocities while occupying it, and expressed his “outrage”.
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The Japanese leader was the only leader of State or government of a G7 member country that has not yet made a trip to the Ukrainian capital since the start of the conflict in February 2022.
Faced with Chinese mediation on Ukraine, Kyiv's allies have generally expressed their skepticism. Washington even accuses the Chinese authorities of considering delivering arms to Russia, which they deny.
On Monday, the head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, said that the world should not ” not be fooled by any tactical decision by Russia, backed by China or any other country, to freeze the conflict [in Ukraine] on its own terms.”
Beyond strategic considerations, the meeting between Mr. Putin and Xi devoted the strengthening of the economic partnership between the two countries, particularly in terms of hydrocarbons.
The visit of the Chinese president to Russia takes place in when the latter massively reoriented its economy towards China, due to the heavy Western sanctions of which it is the target.
In this context, Mr. Putin announced on Tuesday that he had reached an agreement with Mr. Xi on the gigantic Siberian Force 2 gas pipeline project, which will allow Russia to supply an additional 50 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
Earlier, the Russian head of state, anxious to find new outlets for hydrocarbons boycotted by Europe, had assured Mr. Xi that his country was “able to meet China's growing demand for energy”.
As a symbol, the Russian giant Gazprom announced on Tuesday that it had delivered a “record” quantity of gas the day before. has the Siberian Force cross-border gas pipeline.