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Putin arrives in Beijing seeking greater support for war effort

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands after speaking to the media during a signing ceremony following their talks at The Grand Kremlin Palace, in Moscow, Russia, March 21, 2023. AP-Yonhap

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in China on Thursday to meet with counterpart Xi Jinping as he seeks greater support from Beijing for his war effort in Ukraine and his isolated economy.This is Putin’s first trip abroad since his March re-election and the second in just over six months to China, an economic lifeline for Russia after the West hit it with unprecedented sanctions over its military offensive in Ukraine.Russian television broadcast footage of Putin being welcomed by Chinese officials and an honor guard as he got off his plane for the two-day state visit. The state news agency Xinhua also reported his arrival.Xi, who returned last week from a three-nation tour of Europe, has rebuffed Western criticism of Beijing’s ties with Moscow, enjoying cheap Russian energy imports and access to vast natural resources, including steady gas shipments via the Power of Siberia pipeline.It is a relationship the leaders described in 2022 as one of “no limits.”

“This is Putin’s first trip after his inauguration, and it is therefore intended to show that Sino-Russian relations are moving up another level,” independent Russian political analyst Konstantin Kalachev told AFP.”Not to mention the visibly sincere personal friendship between the two leaders.”But as the economic partnership comes under close scrutiny in the West, Chinese banks fearing U.S. sanctions that might cut them off from the global financial system have begun turning the screws on Russian businesses.The Kremlin this week said the two leaders would discuss their “comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation” as well as “define key areas of development of Russian-Chinese cooperation and exchange views on international and regional issues”.Putin, in an interview published in Xinhua ahead of his visit, also hailed Beijing’s “genuine desire” to help resolve the Ukraine crisis.U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who met Xi in Beijing last month, warned China’s support for Russia’s “brutal war of aggression” in Ukraine had helped Russia ramp up production of rockets, drones and tanks — while stopping short of direct arms exports.China claims to be a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict and the foreign ministry in Beijing said the two leaders will exchange views on “bilateral ties, cooperation in various fields, and international and regional issues of common 스포츠토토존 interest.”

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