As the Financial Times describes, Putin’s comments during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan on Thursday were the first public admission to the differences between Beijing and Moscow over the war in Ukraine.
“We highly value the balanced position of our Chinese friends when it comes to the Ukrainian crisis,” Putin told Xi, according to material provided by the Russian state news channel Zvezda. – We understand your questions and concerns on this matter. During today’s meeting, of course, we will explain our position – he pointed out.
As the Financial Times recalls, Beijing has long wanted to portray itself as neutral about the war in Ukraine. Last week, China’s third-most senior official, Li Zhanshu, was quoted by the Russian Duma as saying that Beijing “fully understands the necessity of all measures taken by Russia (…) we provide our assistance.”
Putin and Xi were in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, at the summit Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the regional security authority. At their last personal meeting in Beijing, 20 days before Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine began, the pair announced a “borderless” partnership in response to what they believed was a US-led expansion of NATO.
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Putin came to Uzbekistan at a time when a counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces regained important territory in the north-east of the country and changed the dynamics of the battlefield in the Donbas region, which is crucial for Putin’s forces.
Russia ready to help
The US and the EU have increased pressure on other countries to crack down on Russia avoiding sanctions. Beijing has declared its readiness to help Russia resist the sanctions. Li last week proposed to share with Russia his experience of “legislation to combat external interference, sanctions and long-handed jurisdiction.”
Putin also told Xi on Thursday that Russia condemned the US “provocations” over Taiwan. – We firmly adhere to the One China principle in practice. We condemn the provocations of the United States and its satellites in the Taiwan Strait, Putin said.
On Wednesday, Xi met with the leaders of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The leaders of India and Turkey are also participating in the summit.
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