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Xi Jinping Visits Moscow Amidst Ukraine Conflict

Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to travel to Moscow on Monday for a two-day state visit at the invitation of his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin.[0] This marks Xi's first visit to Russia since it invaded Ukraine last February, and the two leaders are expected to sign a number of bilateral documents.[1]

The visit comes as China attempts to position itself as a mediator in the conflict despite skepticism from the U.S. and its allies.[2] Beijing has declared a “no limits” friendship with Russia, has refused to condemn Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, and released a position paper calling for a political settlement on the crisis.[3]

China has also denied allegations that it is considering sending arms and ammunition to Russia for use in the conflict.[4] However, the U.S. military released declassified video this week that shows a Russian fighter jet harassing and colliding with an American drone, suggesting approval of the action by the Kremlin leadership.[2]

On Thursday, in an uncommon discussion with the Ukrainian representative, China's Foreign Minister Qin Gang expressed that Beijing was worried that the dispute might become out of hand and wished for a political resolution.[5] Kuleba tweeted later that he and Qin had a conversation about the importance of the principle of territorial integrity.[6]

Xi has spoken to Putin multiple times since the invasion, but has not had a single phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.[7] The two leaders share a deep suspicion and hostility toward the US, which they believe is bent on holding China and Russia down, and a vision for a new world order – one that better accommodates their nations’ interests and is no longer dominated by the West.[7]

The two sides have since continued to reaffirm the strength of their ties, with trade between the two countries soaring since the invasion, and China being Russia’s biggest buyer of oil, a key source of revenue for Moscow.[3] Beijing has also urged Kyiv and Moscow to restart peace talks “as soon as possible”, while Kyiv said the call also raised the importance of Ukraine's territorial integrity.[3]

It remains to be seen how China’s position in the conflict might change following Xi’s visit to Moscow next week.[8]

0. “Xi to Visit Russia For First Time Since Putin's Invasion of Ukraine” Bloomberg, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-03-17/xi-to-visit-russia-for-first-time-since-invasion-of-ukraine

1. “China's Xi to visit Russia next week on Putin's invite” Seeking Alpha, 17 Mar. 2023, https://seekingalpha.com/news/3948434-chinas-xi-to-visit-russia-next-week-on-putins-invite

2. “Russia-Ukraine war news: China's Xi Jinping to visit Russia, first time since Putin's invasion” The Washington Post, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/03/17/russia-ukraine-war-news/

3. “Xi to visit Moscow in first trip to Russia since start of Ukraine war” CNA, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/china-xi-jinping-visit-russia-start-ukraine-war-3354346

4. “China's Xi to Visit Russia on March 20-22, Kremlin Says” The Moscow Times, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2023/03/17/chinas-xi-to-visit-russia-on-march-20-22-kremlin-says-a80524

5. “China’s Xi Jinping to visit Russia next week, says Kremlin” Al Jazeera English, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/17/chinas-xi-jinping-to-visit-russia-next-week-says-kremlin

6. “Chinese leader Xi to visit Russia next week for talks with Putin” NBC News, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/china-xi-jinping-state-visit-russia-putin-war-ukraine-rcna75396

7. “China's Xi to meet Putin next week in first visit to Russia since invasion of Ukraine” KTVZ, 17 Mar. 2023, https://ktvz.com/news/2023/03/17/chinas-xi-to-meet-putin-next-week-in-first-visit-to-russia-since-invasion-of-ukraine

8. “Xi will visit Putin in China's biggest show of support for Russia since the war in Ukraine began” Daily Mail, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11871419/Xi-visit-Putin-Chinas-biggest-support-Russia-war-Ukraine-began.html

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