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- Xi Jinping is scheduled to visit Russia next week to meet with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
- Xi and Putin will discuss how to deepen “Russian-Chinese cooperation,” the Kremlin said.
- This marks the first time that Xi will be traveling to Russia since the start of the Ukraine war.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping is scheduled to meet with Russia’s Vladimir Putin during a state visit from March 20 to 22, according to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Xi’s visit would mark the first time China’s paramount leader will visit Russia since Moscow launched its war on Ukraine in February 2022.
Xi and Putin will discuss “deepening Russian-Chinese cooperation” between their nations, the Kremlin said in a Friday statement.
“During the talks, topical issues of further development of comprehensive partnership relations and strategic cooperation between Russia and China will be discussed,” the statement read.
“A number of important bilateral documents will be signed,” the Kremlin added.
“This will be a trip for friendship and peace. On the basis of no-alliance, no-confrontation and no-targeting of any third party, China and Russia have been promoting greater democracy in international relations,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Friday.
Ahead of the announcement, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang called his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, on Thursday evening.
Qin told Kuleba that Beijing “stands ready to work with Ukraine,” recalling China’s earlier proposals for peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv.
China has been attempting to establish itself as a key mediator for the war in Ukraine, proposing a 12-point peace plan in February for a ceasefire. It called for “dialogue and negotiation,” but offered few specifics.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in February that he planned to meet Xi to hear China’s proposal.
While Russia’s Foreign Ministry initially welcomed the plan, the Kremlin later put a damper on the Chinese proposal. “For now, we don’t see any of the conditions that are needed to bring this whole story towards peace,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov on February 28.
Xi’s visit also comes at as American relations continue to sour with both Russia and China.
President Joe Biden discouraged consideration of China’s peace plan for Ukraine, saying on February 26 that it was skewed in favor of Russia.
“The idea that China is gonna be negotiating the outcome of a war, that’s a totally unjust war for Ukraine, is just not rational,” he said.
The Biden administration had also warned that it believes Beijing may be considering providing lethal aid to Russia, though it has not publicly produced any evidence to substantiate this claim.
China has repeatedly denied the US accusations, calling them “disinformation” and instead accusing Washington of escalating the war by sending weapons and ammo to Ukraine.
This is a developing story. Please check back for more updates.