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Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Russia resulted in a display of unity against the West, but without any sign of a breakthrough to end the ongoing fighting in Ukraine. During the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the two leaders expressed concerns about NATO expansion in Asia and agreed to deepen their partnership, which has grown closer since Putin launched an offensive in Ukraine. While Putin said he was open to talks on Ukraine and praised Beijing’s 12-point position paper on the conflict, which includes a call for dialogue and respect for all countries’ territorial sovereignty, he also stated that there has been no sign of readiness for dialogue from Kyiv and the West.

Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has invited China to talks and is waiting for a response from Beijing. However, the United States has criticized China’s aim to be a mediator, saying that it is not capable of being impartial. Russia and China have ramped up cooperation over the past years to counterbalance US global dominance, and the Chinese leader’s visit to Moscow has been viewed as a boost for Putin, who is subject to an International Criminal Court warrant over accusations of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children.

The energy was a key focus of Xi’s visit, and Putin announced that the two countries had reached an agreement on the Power of Siberia 2 gas pipeline, which will connect Siberia to northwest China. In a joint statement, the two leaders accused the United States of undermining global security and expressed great concern over NATO’s growing presence in Asia. They also called on the United States to stop undermining international and regional security and global strategic stability to secure its unilateral military advantage.

Xi’s trip coincided with a surprise visit to Kyiv by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who visited Bucha, a town where Russian forces were accused of committing atrocities during their occupation last year. The International Monetary Fund also reached an agreement with Ukraine on a four-year loan package worth around $15.6 billion, intended to support European Union accession talks and reconstruction in the conflict-hit country.

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