Putin and Xi play peacemakers on Ukraine and pledge to expand ties in show of unity in Moscow

March 21, 2023



(cnn)

Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin posed as peacebrokers during a chummy visit in Moscow on Tuesday, touting a supposed plan to end Russia's raging war in Ukraine that has been panned by the US as a one-sided attempt to give the Kremlin leader cover. Putin backed the Chinese leader's proposal for a "peaceful settlement in Ukraine," but it was drawn up without any involvement from Kyiv. The US warned that Xi's visit provided "diplomatic cover" for Russia's war, and there was little indication that Tuesday's display of closeness at the Kremlin had done anything to impact the state of the war in Ukraine. China has repeatedly attempted to portray itself as an aspiring broker of peace, reiterating its calls for a ceasefire and peace talks in a vaguely-worded position paper released last month, even as Russia continues an onslaught that has triggered a mass humanitarian crisis and left tens of thousands dead. Xi's visit to Moscow coincided with a surprise trip to Ukraine from Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The two leaders emphasized their shared strategic visions and signaled a desire to boost ties on a number of issues, including energy. Putin also raised a toast at the beginning of Tuesday's state dinner, declaring that "Russia-Chinese relations are at the highest point ever." However, Western countries have viewed Beijing's intentions with suspicion, and NATO's chief said that Russia is pressing China to provide lethal aid. Ukrainian Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov also said on Twitter that the "successful implementation" of a Chinese "peace plan" must start with the "capitulation or withdrawal" of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory. NATO said it was aware that Russia has likely requested lethal aid from China to bolster Moscow's war on Ukraine.

Ukraine Moscow Donbas Russia Putin Nato China Tass

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