Putin says he had “substantial” and “transparent” talks with Xi Jinping

US says Xi’s talks with Putin provide ‘diplomatic cover’ for war

Newspapers with a front-page photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow are displayed at a newsstand in Beijing on March 21. (Photo: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)

Xi Jinping is set to sit down for a second day of talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, but Western allies are skeptical of any progress on the Ukraine war, and Washington says the Chinese leader’s visit gives Moscow “diplomatic cover”.

Xi’s first day in Russia was a carefully choreographed display of bonhomie, accompanied by a marching band serenade, a photo op and lunch with his “dear friend” Putin, but the second day was a busy day for both leaders. .

A key question of global concern is whether the results will have an impact on the conflict in Ukraine, where Russia continues its offensive that has sparked a massive humanitarian crisis and killed tens of thousands of people.

In recent weeks, China has sought to cast itself as a peace broker, calling for a ceasefire and peace talks in a vaguely worded position paper published last month.

On Monday, Putin announced that Russia had “carefully examined” China’s proposals and promised “an opportunity to discuss the matter,” according to a Kremlin statement.

But there was widespread skepticism about China’s position on resolving the conflict, with nothing Beijing has yet offered reflecting Ukraine’s demand that all Russian troops leave its territory.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken criticized Xi’s visit on Monday, noting that it came days after the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant against Putin.

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“China is not responsible for calling the Kremlin for the atrocities in Ukraine, instead of condemning them, it wants to give diplomatic protection to Russia so that it will continue to commit the same crimes,” said the head of Washington diplomacy.

“Any call for a ceasefire that does not include the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory would support the recognition of a de facto Russian victory” because it would “allow President Putin to rest, resupply his forces, and then resume the war. A very favorable time for Russia,” he added.

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