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Putin arrives in China as Russian troops advance in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Beijing for the start of a two-day state visit. The trip aims to strengthen ties with Chinese leader Xi Jinping as Russian troops advance in Ukraine.

The visit – Putin's first trip abroad since entering a new term as Russia's president last week – is the latest sign of deepening relations as the two unite their countries in the face of criticism from the West.

Putin landed in the Chinese capital hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced this Wednesday (15) that he would halt all international travel due to Russia's advances in the northeast region of Kharkiv.

The war, as well as the conflict in Gaza, should be the topic of Xi and Putin's meetings, as well as discussions on expanding trade, security and energy ties.

Before the trip, Putin hailed the “unprecedented level of strategic partnership” between the countries in an interview with Chinese state media Xinhua.

He said the leaders aim to “strengthen foreign policy coordination” and deepen the alliance in “industry and high technology, as well as peaceful uses of nuclear energy, artificial intelligence, renewable energy and other innovation sectors.”

The Russian leader also praised China's “approaches to resolving the crisis in Ukraine.” Beijing has never condemned Russia's invasion, but claims neutrality in the conflict and has called for peace talks that take into account the positions of both sides.

The two leaders – who declared a “boundless” partnership weeks before the February 2022 invasion – have continued to strengthen diplomatic, commercial and security ties since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Both see themselves as key partners in reshaping the world order that they say is led by the United States.

Trade between the two economies increased in the wake of the war, reaching record levels last year.

It comes as other countries have introduced sanctions aimed at draining Russia's war coffers and limiting access to goods that could be used on the battlefield.

Xi welcomes Putin to Beijing as the Chinese leader comes under increasing pressure from the US and Europe to ensure China's exports are not propping up Russia's war effort.

White House officials in recent weeks have confronted China over what they believe is Beijing's substantial support — in the form of goods such as machines, drones and engines — for Russia's defense industrial base.

This is the fourth face-to-face meeting between Xi and Putin since the invasion and the Russian leader's second visit to Beijing. The President of China also visited Moscow in 2023 after assuming the new term as President of China.

The two leaders are expected to sign several bilateral agreements, the Kremlin said on Tuesday (14). They are also set to celebrate 75 years of their diplomatic relations in what Chinese state media described as a “gala event.”

In addition to meeting Xi in Beijing, Putin is also expected to visit Harbin, the capital of China's Heilongjiang province, where he will participate in trade and cooperation forums.

Source: CNN Brasil

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