President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Beijing, according to Chinese state media, a rare trip abroad for the Russian leader who has an arrest warrant issued against him by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
(Bloomberg) — President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Beijing, according to Chinese state media, a rare trip abroad for the Russian leader who has an arrest warrant issued against him by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
Putin is expected to attend the Belt and Road forum, CGTN reported. He is also set to meet President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, Russia’s Interfax said earlier.
The visit underscores the close ties between Beijing and Moscow that officials in Washington and Brussels are watching closely amid the war in Ukraine. China has provided key diplomatic and economic support to Russia since Putin ordered the 2022 invasion, mitigating the effects of Western sanctions on Moscow.
Read more: Xi’s Diplomatic Gamble on Putin Leaves Both With Much to Lose
Putin’s visit is also a show of support for Xi’s signature Belt and Road project, which was launched in 2013 and has funded about $900 billion in infrastructure and other projects. The initiative faces several challenges, including concerns about debt sustainability and the impact of China’s economic slowdown.
In an interview with Chinese state broadcaster CCTV ahead of his trip, Putin said he had met with Xi more than 40 times and had “many fond memories.”
Putin was in Kyrgyzstan, a Central Asian nation with strong ties to Moscow, just last week during what was his first foreign trip since the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him in March.
Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Monday and exchanged views on topics including the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, according to a statement from the foreign ministry.
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