Russian President Vladimir Putin receives China's head of state and party leader Xi Jinping this Monday for a three-day state visit to Moscow. The visit takes place against the background of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. According to the Kremlin, the talks, which are scheduled to run until Wednesday, are about developing relations into an all-encompassing partnership and strategic cooperation between Russia and China. Putin and Xi have met about 40 times over the years.
The guest from Beijing comes in handy for Putin because he can show that he is not internationally isolated. China has not condemned the war against Ukraine and is committed to peace negotiations. It is also the first visit since an arrest warrant was issued against Putin for war crimes in Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed this arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court in The Hague in his video address yesterday. He spoke of a turning point: from now on it is clear that Russia will have to answer for its crimes. "The evil state will be held accountable for every act of terrorism against Ukrainians," said Zelenskyy. Today is the 390th day of defense against the Russian invasion for his country.
Putin: Thank you for China's "balanced stance".
Before the visit from China, Putin underlined the importance of bilateral Russian-Chinese relations. They have never been as close as they are now, Putin wrote in an article for the newspaper "Renmin Ribao" (the People's Daily). The Kremlin published the Russian version of the text on its website.
The Kremlin chief thanked "China for its balanced position on the events in Ukraine". China is considered a close ally of Russia. At the same time, Beijing has largely adhered to international sanctions against Moscow so as not to become the target of punitive measures itself. A peace initiative recently presented by Beijing was met with disappointment in the West.
Xi Jinping continued these Chinese ideas in an article for the Russian government newspaper "Rossiskaja Gazeta". He explained that any settlement of the Ukraine conflict would have to respect the goals and principles of the UN Charter. This includes the territorial integrity of all states. At the same time, Xi said the "reasonable concerns of all states in the field of security" must be taken into account. All efforts to resolve the Ukrainian crisis should be supported. It is important to maintain the stability of the global production and supply chains.
In his article, Putin welcomed Beijing's willingness to play a constructive role in resolving the conflict. The two heads of state spoke out in favor of a multipolar world order that would not be dominated by one power.
Zelenskyj: Russia will have to answer for itself
According to Zelenskyy, Russia will have to answer for all crimes committed in the war against Ukraine. It's about "responsibility for every attack on Ukraine, for every life destroyed, for every deported Ukrainian child." The international arrest warrant against Putin for kidnapping Ukrainian children is "a really important result of international law for Ukraine": From now on it is clear that at the end of the war Russia must assume "the full range of its responsibilities", said the Ukrainian President.
According to the Ukrainian General Staff, the fighting in eastern Ukraine continued to be violent. The city of Bakhmut in the Donbass will continue to be defended. Several attacks by the enemy were repelled there.
According to Ukrainian authorities, a Russian artillery attack killed three civilians in a village near the front in the Zaporizhia region. Two people were injured. According to the information, the house in the village of Kamianske was hit by shells from a Grad multiple rocket launcher (hail). Four Ukrainian soldiers were killed in an accident at a military training ground north of Kiev. The army announced this without details.
Baerbock: We help with weapons, money and reconstruction work
Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock promised Ukraine support for as long as it was needed. "As long as Putin bombs innocent people, breaks the UN charter and doesn't withdraw his troops, we'll try to help save lives by supporting Ukraine," she told Die Welt newspaper. This happens "with weapons deliveries, but also with financial help, with medicines, with the reconstruction of school buildings or the water and electricity supply". It is clear that peace and freedom cannot be created purely militarily in the long term. "But as long as the Russian President holds the gun to Ukraine's head, negotiations would be blackmail," she said.
That's going to be important today
Xi Jinping's visit will begin in the second half of the day. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, an informal meeting and a tête-à-tête dinner of the heads of state is planned. The official talks between the delegations are planned for Tuesday.
The foreign and defense ministers of the EU states want to discuss further support for Ukraine. The meeting in Brussels is said to be primarily about the procurement of ammunition. The background is concerns that Ukraine could soon lack artillery shells and other important types of ammunition.