Xi heads to Russia next week after China touts Ukraine peace plan

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of an extended format meeting of the heads of state of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 16, 2022. — Reuters/File

Chinese President Xi Jinping Will go to Russia next week for talks. President Vladimir Putinthe two countries said on Friday, as Beijing pushed for a plan to end the war in Ukraine that has been warmly welcomed by both sides.

Xi’s March 20-22 visit comes after China published a 12-point plan for a “political solution to the Ukraine crisis” and invited a senior Chinese diplomat for talks with Ukraine’s foreign minister on Thursday. has come.

The plan calls for the protection of citizens and Russia. Ukraine Respecting each other’s autonomy.

However, the US and NATO have said Beijing’s mediation efforts are not credible because it has avoided condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Xi’s visit to Russia – his first in nearly four years – was to promote “peace”, although he made no specific mention of the war in Ukraine.

He said the leaders will also discuss important regional and international issues, strengthen bilateral trust and deepen economic partnership.

‘No limits’ partnership

The Kremlin said in a statement that Xi and Putin will discuss “key issues of further development of comprehensive partnership relations and strategic cooperation between Russia and China.” Ukraine was also not mentioned in the statement.

According to some media reports, Xi will speak to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi by telephone after his visit to Russia. Beijing has not confirmed the call.

China and Russia announced a “no border” partnership in February 2022 when Putin visited Beijing to open the Winter Olympics, days before he sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine, sparking World War II. After that, the greatest conflict ever seen in Europe began.

Since then, Beijing and Moscow have continued to reaffirm the strength of their ties. Bilateral trade has increased since the invasion and China is Russia’s largest buyer of oil, a key source of income for Moscow.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced since the invasion of Ukraine, and there is currently no sign that either side is actively trying to end the conflict.

Ukraine has taken issue with Beijing’s proposals not to say that Russia should withdraw from its borders since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, although it later said it was “part of the plan”. Sections” is open to

Russia welcomed Beijing’s move and said it would conduct a “brief study” of the plan, but also said it still saw no signs of a peaceful solution.

Moscow says Ukraine must accept the annexation of four regions in the country’s east and south, as well as Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula it annexed in 2014.

Russia says its actions in Ukraine are a defensive push against a hostile and aggressive West, while Kiev and its Western allies say they represent an imperialist land grab.

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