Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to visit Russia from Monday to Wednesday in an apparent show of support for Russian President Vladimir Putin amid sharpening East-West tensions over the war in Ukraine. The meeting between the leaders was announced by both countries on Friday. Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine is expected to dominate Putin and Xi's discussions, the AP reports. China has refused to condemn Moscow’s aggression and sought to project itself as neutral in the conflict even while Beijing declared last year that it had a “no-limits” friendship with Russia. China has said the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected, while condemning Western sanctions and accusing NATO and the United States of provoking Russia into military action.
On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang told his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba that Beijing was concerned about the year-old conflict spinning out of control and urged talks on a political solution with Moscow. 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," Qin said. Kuleba later tweeted that he and Qin "discussed the significance of the principle of territorial integrity."
Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a daily briefing on Friday that Xi "will have an in-depth exchange of views with President Putin on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues of common concern, promote strategic cooperation and practical cooperation between the two countries, and inject new impetus into the development of bilateral relations." The Kremlin said Xi and Putin will discuss "issues of further development of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction between Russia and China," and exchange views "in the context of deepening Russian-Chinese cooperation in the international arena." (Read more Russia stories.)