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China leader Xi to visit Moscow in show of support for Putin

POOL VIA AP
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POOL VIA AP

BEIJING >> China says President Xi Jinping will visit Russia from Monday to Wednesday in an apparent show of support for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Kremlin on Friday also announced the visit, saying it will take place “at the invitation of Vladimir Putin.”

Xi and Putin will discuss “issues of further development of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction between Russia and China,” as well as exchange views “in the context of deepening Russian-Chinese cooperation in the international arena,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

The two leaders will also sign “important bilateral documents,” the statement read.

China has declared a “no-limits” friendship with Russia and refused to condemn Moscow’s invasion — even while declaring that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries be respected.

Beijing has also condemned Western sanctions and accused NATO and the United States of provoking Russia.

Putin invited Xi to visit Russia during a video conference call the two held in late December. The visit, Putin said, could “demonstrate to the whole world the strength of the Russian-Chinese ties” and “become the main political event of the year in bilateral relations.”

In a rare phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Thursday, China’s foreign minister said Beijing is concerned about the year-old grinding conflict with Russia spinning out of control and urged talks on a political solution with Moscow.

Qin Gang told Dmytro Kuleba that China has “always upheld an objective and fair stance on the Ukraine issue, has committed itself to promoting peace and advancing negotiations and calls on the international community to create conditions for peace talks,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its website.

Kuleba later tweeted that he and Qin “discussed the significance of the principle of territorial integrity.”

“I underscored the importance of (Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s)’s Peace Formula for ending the aggression and restoring just peace in Ukraine,” wrote Kuleba, who spoke the same day with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

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