Russia, which is largely ostracized internationally by the West, is increasingly seeking proximity to China. In a joint video call, President Putin and the Chinese head of state Xi swear to closer cooperation. A possible meeting in the spring should set an example.
Russian President Vladimir Putin invited Chinese head of state and party leader Xi Jinping to a state visit to Moscow in the spring. "In the next year, intensive bilateral exchanges will continue, I have no doubts about that. And we will find a way to meet in person," Putin said in a video link with Xi published on the Kremlin's homepage. This visit will "demonstrate to the world the closeness of Russian-Chinese relations," Putin said. The news agencies AFP and Reuters meanwhile report that Xi will come to the meeting in Moscow.
Putin traveled to the Winter Olympics in Beijing earlier this year, and the two last met at a summit in Uzbekistan in the fall. The relationship between the two countries is considered good. China, unlike Western countries, has not condemned Russia's attack on Ukraine.
According to the Kremlin, Xi has declared Beijing's willingness to remain a partner with Moscow in the current political situation. China stands ready to step up strategic cooperation with Russia amid a "difficult" situation in the world at large, Xi said.
Putin, on the other hand, called the relations between the two states exemplary for cooperation between great powers in the 21st century. The 70-year-old declared strengthening the common military and armaments policy to be one of the most important areas of responsibility. At the same time, he praised the efforts made by Moscow and Beijing to counter pressure from the West.
In the face of international condemnation of the Russian offensive in Ukraine and Western sanctions, Putin wants to strengthen his ties with Beijing. In December, Russia and China held joint military exercises, which the Russian army chief described as a response to "aggressive" US stances in the Asia-Pacific region.
Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine has exposed Moscow's military weaknesses. For months, Russia has also been struggling with increasing material and ammunition shortages. According to US information, Moscow has already ordered arms aid from North Korea and Iran. China could supply significantly more and better equipment, but so far there are no signs that Beijing wants to get involved in the conflict.