| 24 February 2024, Saturday |

Putin and Xi to discuss Ukraine and Taiwan, Kremlin says

Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping will meet in Uzbekistan on Thursday to discuss Ukraine and Taiwan, which the Kremlin described as having “particular relevance” given the geopolitical situation.

Xi will leave China for the first time in more than two years this week for a trip to Central Asia, where he will meet Putin, only a month before becoming the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.

The increasing “no boundaries” cooperation between China, the emerging superpower, and Russia, the natural resources giant, is a geopolitical trend that the West is watching with concern.

The meeting will give Xi an opportunity to underscore his clout while Putin can demonstrate Russia’s tilt towards Asia; both leaders can show their opposition to the United States just as the West seeks to punish Russia for what Moscow calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

According to the Kremlin, trade turnover between the countries rose reached $140 billion in 2021, while for the first seven months of this year it totaled almost $93.

China is Russia’s largest buyer of oil, one of the key sources of revenues for Moscow’s state coffers.

Russia is also striving to boost its gas sales to China and build new pipelines to the country as its gas supplies to Europe have been significantly curtailed amid the stand off over Ukraine.

Ushakov said Moscow values China’s position towards what he called the “Ukraine crisis”, saying Beijing had struck a “balanced approach” towards the conflict.

China “clearly understands the reasons that forced Russia to launch its special military operation. This issue, of course, will be thoroughly discussed during the upcoming meeting,” Ushakov said.

The meeting between Xi and Putin in Uzbekistan will take place on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s summit in the ancient Silk Road city of Samarkand in Uzbekistan.

Ushakov said no new energy deals with China are expected to be signed in Uzbekistan.

  • Reuters