mandag 20. mars 2023

‘Good old friend’: Putin offers praise for Xi ahead of first trip to Russia since Ukraine invasion

Vladimir Putin has praised “good old friend” Xi Jinping in a newspaper article published in China on the eve of a state visit by the Chinese president that will reaffirm the leaders’ strong ties and provide Moscow with an opportunity to emphasise that it has not been isolated by the global community. The two leaders, who are believed to share a strong personal relationship, will meet one-on-one on Monday, followed by an informal lunch, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said.

In an article written for a Chinese newspaper on Sunday, Putin welcomed China’s willingness to play what he characterised as a “constructive role” in solving the Ukraine “crisis”. The Russian president called Xi his “good old friend” and said Russia had high hopes for his visit, the Chinese leader’s first to Russia since Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine last year.

In the article, Putin said: “We are grateful for the balanced line of [China] in connection with the events taking place in Ukraine, for understanding their background and true causes. We welcome China’s willingness to play a constructive role in resolving the crisis.”