Putin praises Xi Jinping’s proposals for ending war in Ukraine ahead of two-day visit to China

Two leaders are expected to sign bilateral economic deals, and reaffirm their opposition to dominant position of US in global affairs

Russian president Vladimir Putin has praised Xi Jinping’s proposals for ending the war in Ukraine ahead of a two-day visit to China aimed at shoring up support from his most powerful international partner. Mr Putin said China had shown a genuine desire to end the war as well as an understanding of the root causes of the conflict and its global geopolitical significance.

When Beijing published a 12-point plan for peace last year it met a lukewarm response from Moscow and was dismissed by Ukraine and its western allies. But the Russian president said that four additional principles outlined by Mr Xi last month, when he called for a cooling down of the conflict, could form the basis for a peace process.

“Beijing proposes practicable and constructive steps to achieve peace by refraining from pursuing vested interests and constant escalation of tensions, minimising the negative impact of the conflict on the global economy and the stability of global value chains,” Mr Putin told the Chinese news agency Xinhua.

“The steps build on the idea that we need to forego the ‘cold war mentality’ and ensure indivisible security and respect for international law and the UN Charter in their entirety and interrelation. They could therefore lay the groundwork for a political and diplomatic process that would take into account Russia’s security concerns and contribute to achieving a long-term and sustainable peace.”

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China is officially neutral in the conflict but it has offered economic and diplomatic support to Russia, and trade between the two countries has surged since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. When Mr Xi met French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris last week he said he would not supply weapons to Russia and would monitor the export of “dual use” products that could help the war effort.

Mr Xi also endorsed Mr Macron’s call for a truce to coincide with the Olympic Games, which will be held in Paris for two weeks from July 26th. Mr Putin has not yet commented on the proposal for an Olympic truce and Russia has not been invited to take part in a peace conference in Switzerland next month.

The conference will discuss the Chinese peace proposals alongside others including the Ukrainian peace plan, which calls for the withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukraine. Mr Putin has demanded that Russia’s battlefield gains must be taken into account in any settlement, but he claimed on Wednesday that he had always been willing to negotiate.

“We are seeking a comprehensive, sustainable and just settlement of this conflict through peaceful means. We are open to a dialogue on Ukraine, but such negotiations must take into account the interests of all countries involved in the conflict, including ours. They must also involve a substantive discussion on global stability and security guarantees for Russia’s opponents and, naturally, for Russia itself,” he told Xinhua.

“Needless to say these must be reliable guarantees. That is where the main problem is since we are dealing with states whose ruling circles seek to substitute the world order based on international law with an “order based on certain rules,” which they keep talking about but which no one has ever seen, no one has agreed to, and which, apparently, tend to change depending on the current political situation and interests of those who invent these rules.”

Mr Putin’s visit to China follows his inauguration last week for a fifth term as president and it will be his 42nd meeting with Mr Xi, who chose Russia for his first foreign trip after he began his third presidential term last year. The two leaders are expected to sign a number of bilateral economic deals, as well as reaffirming their strategic partnership and their shared opposition to the hegemonic position of the United States in global affairs.

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