Xi arrives in Russia to meet Putin on his first visit since Ukraine war

Moscow, Mar 20 (EFE).- Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow on Monday for a three-day visit, his first to Russia since the Ukrainian war began more than a year ago, prompting the West to isolate Moscow.

In Moscow, Xi will meet with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on Tuesday as the two countries look to strengthen the bilateral ties with the Russian war in Ukraine grinding on.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernishenko received Xi on a red carpet at the Vnukovo International Airport.

“During his visit, Xi will have in-depth exchanges of views with Putin over bilateral relations and major international and regional issues of common concern,” China’s official Xinhua news agency said.

The Chinese president said he was “very happy” to receive Putin’s invitation. “China and Russia are good neighbors and reliable partners connected by mountains and rivers.”

A grand welcoming ceremony was held upon Xi’s arrival.

It is Xi’s ninth trip to Russia and the first since he won an unprecedented third term this month as the Chinese president.

He will dine at the Kremlin with Putin on Monday.

The two sides will launch formal negotiations on Tuesday, during which they will sign bilateral agreements.

The West fears that these negotiations will serve Russia not only to strengthen its ties with China as an alternative market but also to circumvent sanctions.

The visit comes amid reports of a Chinese drone spotted on the battlefield in Ukraine and a possible supply of Chinese weapons to Russia, the American newspaper Politico said.

The Chinese president has emerged as Russia’s most powerful ally at a time when Putin is isolated globally after the military campaign in Ukraine.

Last week, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Putin.

China’s foreign ministry Monday reacted sharply to the ICC warrant and called on the global court to “respect the jurisdictional immunity” of a head of state.

The ICC should “avoid politicization and double standards,” the Chinese foreign ministry said.

With Xi’s visit, the Kremlin will send a message to the West that the two countries, through their friendship, make a common front against what the Chinese president called the “damaging acts of hegemony, domination, and bullying, and long and tortuous global economic recovery.”

The Chinese president’s visit also indicates that Xi will not let Putin down, who needs China in the face of Western sanctions.

China-Russia trade exceeded $190 billion last year, up by 116 percent from a decade ago.

China has maintained an ambiguous stand on the war in Ukraine.

It has defended Ukrainian territorial integrity and also advocated taking Russia’s security concerns into account.

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