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Putin will discuss war in Ukraine and energy in meeting with Xi Jinping in China

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit China on May 16 and 17 for discussions with Xi Jinping on the conflict in Ukraine, as well as deepening energy and trade cooperation. It will be the Kremlin chief's first trip abroad in his new six-year term.

China and Russia declared a “boundless” partnership in February 2022, when Putin visited Beijing just days before sending tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine, triggering Europe's deadliest land war since World War II.

The Kremlin said Putin will make a state visit at Xi's invitation and will discuss China's New Silk Road Initiative, the situation in the Middle East and Asia, as well as Ukraine.

Putin's newly appointed Defense Minister Andrei Belousov, as well as Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Security Council Secretary Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Policy Advisor Yuri Ushakov will also participate in an informal meeting between Putin and Xi on May 16.

“The leaders will have an individual conversation, walk through the park next to the palace, drink tea, obviously, and then informal conversations will take place during an informal dinner with the participation of some members of delegations from both sides,” Ushakov told Russian news agencies .

He praised China for its “balanced” stance on Ukraine.

Putin, 71, and Xi, 70, will attend a gala evening celebrating 75 years since the Soviet Union recognized the People's Republic of China, which was declared by Mao Zedong in 1949.

The United States ranks China as its biggest competitor and Russia as its biggest nation-state threat, while US President Joe Biden argues that this century will be defined by an existential contest between democracies and autocracies.

Putin and Xi share a broad worldview that sees the West as decadent and in decline, while China challenges U.S. supremacy in everything from quantum computing and synthetic biology to espionage and hard military power.

During the visit, Putin will meet with Chinese Premier Li Qiang to discuss trade and economic cooperation. Putin will also visit Harbin in northeast China, a city with strong ties to Russia.

Putin turned sharply to China after the United States and its allies sought to isolate Russia as punishment for the war in Ukraine.

Trade between China and Russia reached a record $240.1 billion in 2023, a 26.3% increase from the previous year, Chinese customs data shows.

Putin will bring with him a large business delegation, including Finance Minister Anton Siluanov and Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina.

Other members of the delegation include Sberbank SBER.MM CEO German Gref, businessman Oleg Deripaska, VTB VTBR.MM head Andrei Kostin, Rosneft ROSN.MM head Igor Sechin and Novatek head Leonid Mikhelson, said Ushakov.

China has strengthened its trade and military ties with Russia as the United States and its allies have imposed sanctions against both countries. Russia has become China's top oil supplier, with its oil shipments to China jumping more than 24% in 2023 despite Western sanctions.

Source: CNN Brasil

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