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Putin, Xi praise Russia-China relations in virtual summit

MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping held a video call on Wednesday to discuss bilateral relations and international issues, a summit that took place in… amid rising tensions between Moscow and the West over Russian military forces near the Ukrainian border.

In their opening remarks, Putin and Xi praised the relationship between Russia and China, with the Russian leader declaring them “a prime example of interstate cooperation in the 21st century”.

“A new model of cooperation has been formed between our countries, based on principles such as non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, respect for each other’s interests, and determination to turn the common border into a belt.” eternal peace. and good neighborliness,” said Putin.

Xi said that the Russian president “strongly supports China’s efforts to protect important national interests and resolutely opposes efforts to forge relations between our countries.”

“I appreciate it very much,” the Chinese leader said.

Mr. Putin also said that he plans to meet Mr. Xi in person in Beijing in February and attend the 2022 Olympics. Mr. Putin said: “As agreed, we will hold talks and then hold the ceremony. opening of the Winter Olympic Games.

In recent years, China and Russia have increasingly united their foreign policies to counter U.S. dominance of the international political and economic order. Both have faced sanctions over their internal policies.

China has faced sanctions for its abuse of minorities, especially Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang, and for its crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Russia has faced international sanctions for its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula as well as the poisoning and imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Beijing and Washington also remain at odds over trade, technology and China’s military threat to Taiwan, which it claims as its own territory.

Russia’s relationship with the United States sank to a post-Cold War low after it annexed Crimea in 2014 and gave weight to a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine. Tensions have flared again in recent weeks after Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops near the Ukrainian border, a move that Ukraine and the West fear could indicate plans for a new invasion.

Moscow denies reports that it plans to attack Ukraine and blames Ukraine for its military build-up in the country’s war-torn east.

Russian officials allege that Kyiv may try to take back rebel-controlled areas by force, and Putin has pressed the West to give legally binding guarantees that NATO will not open up. expand into Ukraine or deploy forces there.

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