When Russian and Chinese Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping meet for talks next week, they will spend “a lot of time” discussing European security and the list of demands Moscow has made of the West, according to the Kremlin.
Putin will visit China on Feb. 4 to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics, despite a heated standoff with the West over Ukraine.
The meetings will be eagerly watched in Washington and elsewhere for hints about the future of Russia-China relations, which have grown closer as both nations’ relationships with the West have worsened.
Moscow has built up military forces near Ukraine in a show of strength as it presses its demands for security guarantees from the United States and its allies.
“I think this time of course a lot of time will be spent on an exchange of views on international issues, including strategic stability in Europe, security guarantees for Russia, security in Europe and Russia’s dialogue with the United States and NATO, and regional problems,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Putin is set to fill a void left by foreign dignitaries after some Western countries announced they would not send state officials to the Games because of China’s human rights record. Putin has said he opposes diplomatic boycotts.
Russia has cultivated closer ties with China since 2014 when its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine soured relations with the West.