Putin's Arrival In China Aimed At Garnering Increased Support For War Effort

However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has criticized China for indirectly supporting Russia’s military actions in Ukraine, warning of the repercussions, including heightened production of military equipment by Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin embarked on a two-day state visit to China on Thursday, aiming to bolster support from Beijing amidst Russia’s ongoing military campaign in Ukraine and its strained economy due to Western sanctions.

This marks Putin’s initial international journey since his re-election in March, and notably, his second trip to China in just over half a year. For Russia, China serves as a crucial economic lifeline amid the severe sanctions imposed by the West in response to the Ukrainian conflict.

Upon his arrival, Russian television aired footage of Putin being warmly received by Chinese officials and an honor guard, while the state news agency Xinhua also covered his visit.

Xi Jinping, Putin’s counterpart, who recently concluded a tour of Europe, has previously dismissed Western criticism of China’s close ties with Moscow. China benefits significantly from Russian energy imports and access to abundant natural resources, solidified by ongoing gas shipments through the Power of Siberia pipeline.

The relationship between the two nations has been described as having “no limits”, a sentiment reiterated during Putin’s current visit. Independent political analyst Konstantin Kalachev highlighted the trip’s significance in elevating Sino-Russian relations, underscoring the personal rapport shared by the leaders.

Despite the deepening economic cooperation, Chinese banks have displayed caution amid concerns about potential US sanctions. There have been reports of transaction slowdowns with Russian businesses, signaling Beijing’s reluctance to openly align further with Moscow, given recent efforts to mend relations with the United States.

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During discussions between Putin and Xi, a range of topics will be covered, including bilateral ties, strategic cooperation, and international and regional issues. Putin expressed appreciation for Beijing’s constructive approach toward resolving the Ukraine crisis.

However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has criticized China for indirectly supporting Russia’s military actions in Ukraine, warning of the repercussions, including heightened production of military equipment by Russia.

The trade between China and Russia surged to $240 billion in 2023, yet recent declines in Chinese exports to Russia suggest the impact of US sanctions. Chinese banks have reportedly slowed or halted transactions with Russian clients, navigating complex regulatory challenges.

Putin’s visit to China mirrors Xi’s visit to Russia after his reconfirmation as leader last year. Expectations are high for symbolic gestures of unity and cooperation, along with potential agreements to strengthen trade ties.

The discussions between Putin and Xi are anticipated to culminate in a joint declaration, symbolizing the enduring partnership between the two nations. Additionally, they will attend an event commemorating 75 years of diplomatic relations and explore opportunities for further collaboration in trade and investment during Putin’s visit to Harbin.