Russia says a senior Chinese official has expressed support for the invasion of Ukraine.

Follow official Russian description of the meeting.

Li Zhanshu, a third-grade member of the Communist Party of China, visited Moscow last week after attending an economic forum in the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok, where he met Russian President Putin. Mr. Li is the highest-ranking Chinese official to leave the country since the start of the pandemic.

Mr. Li was ahead of the tour of Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader, who is expected to visit Kazakhstan on Wednesday and Uzbekistan over the weekend, where he will met with Mr. Putin at a meeting of leaders from the region.

In Vladivostok, Mr. Lee praised Mr. Putin, saying that under his leadership Russia “is not crushed by the severe sanctions of the United States and the West, but in a short time has achieved stable and show resilience”.

But it was in Moscow afterward that he gave his strongest endorsement to the Russian leadership.

“We see that the United States and its NATO allies are expanding their presence near Russia’s borders, seriously threatening national security and the lives of Russian citizens,” Li said. description from the Russian Parliament. “We fully understand the necessity of all measures taken by Russia to protect its main interests; We are providing our support. “

On Ukraine, we see how they have put Russia in an impossible situation. “And in this case, Russia made an important choice and reacted resolutely.”

China has carefully handled the war in Ukraine. Chinese state media did not report on Mr. Li’s comments on Ukraine and provided only modest coverage of his trip.

While Beijing refuses to criticize Putin’s actions or see the conflict as a “war,” it is also cautious about publicly endorsing and denying any prior information about Russia’s plans.

China has maintained strong trade ties with Russia, buying record amounts of its oil in May, June and July as Europe moves further away from Russian oil. But China has been careful to avoid violating sanctions against Russia that could result in the country being sanctioned as well.

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