Three days after being accused by an international tribunal of war crimes in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin will be looking for a show of solidarity from his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping when he welcomes him to Moscow on Monday. This is a critical time for Putin to welcome Xi Jinping to Moscow.
Since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin on Friday in connection with the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia since the start of the war, Xi will be the first world leader to shake Putin’s hand.
Russia will use Xi’s trip, his first since winning an unprecedented third term this month, as evidence that it has a powerful friend willing to support it against a hostile West that, according to Russia, is attempting to isolate and defeat it in vain.
The Kremlin claimed that the ICC’s action was outrageous but legally void because neither Moscow nor Beijing are members. The court, on the other hand, has put an awkward spotlight on a meeting that was already delicate for the Chinese leader by making Putin a wanted man in 123 countries practically on the day of Xi’s trip.
According to Jonathan Eyal of the Royal United Services Institute, a London think-tank, Beijing faces a choice it had hoped to avoid as Russia’s army struggles in Ukraine and the United States warns China against supplying Moscow with weapons.
“Either they do nothing and risk humiliating Russia in Ukraine, which is not in China’s best interest,” In a telephone interview, he stated, “or they come to Russia’s aid and risk a much bigger deterioration in their relationship with the United States and other Western countries.”
Putin stated that he had high hopes for the visit of his “good old friend” Xi, with whom he signed a “no limits” strategic partnership last year, in an article that was published on the Kremlin website late on Sunday.
Additionally, he was pleased with China’s willingness to mediate the conflict.
“We are thankful for China’s balanced position in relation to the events that are taking place in Ukraine because it has helped us comprehend their origins and real causes. Putin stated, “We welcome China’s willingness to participate constructively in resolving the crisis.”
China released a 12-point document last month that called for dialogue and a settlement in Ukraine. However, the document only contained broad statements and made no specific suggestions for how the year-long war could be ended.
Although Ukraine cautiously accepted the Chinese proposal, it asserts that any settlement would necessitate Russia’s withdrawal from all seized territory, including the 2014 annexed Crimean peninsula.
The US has responded with outrageous wariness to China’s contribution, given its refusal to censure Russia’s intrusion.
On Sunday, White House press secretary John Kirby stated to Fox News that any request from Xi and Putin for a ceasefire at this time would be unacceptable because it would merely “ratify Russia’s conquest to date.”
He stated, “All that’s going to do is give Mr. Putin more time to re-fit, re-train, re-man, and attempt to renew offensives at a time of his choosing.”
The meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Moscow will be significant because it will break the international isolation that has surrounded Putin since the beginning of his invasion of Ukraine and show that China no longer feels the need to publicly distance itself from Putin during the war.
At a time when Ukraine is getting ready for a much-anticipated spring counteroffensive, the two-day state visit will be Xi’s first trip to Russia since the war began. This comes at a time when Western nations are becoming increasingly concerned that China is moving to more actively support Moscow and play a more assertive role in shaping the conflict.