Russian President Putin backs China’s peace plan amid Ukraine conflict

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Beijing: Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed support for China’s peace plan amid the ongoing military conflict with Ukraine, describing it as a “genuine desire” to bring an end to the hostilities, Al Jazeera reported.

In an interview with China’s Xinhua state news agency amid his ongoing two-day visit to China to meet President Xi Jinping, Putin commended Beijing’s approach, asserting that it comprehended the conflict’s ‘root causes’ and its ‘global geopolitical significance’.

China’s 12-point proposal for ending the conflict had received a lukewarm response upon its release last year. However, Putin lauded the additional measures unveiled last month as “pragmatic and constructive steps” that “elaborate on the imperative to transcend the Cold War mindset”, Xinhua quoted the Russian president as saying.

Xi Jinping’s supplementary principles, outlined during discussions with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, advocate for de-escalation, the establishment of conditions conducive to peace and stability, and mitigating the impact on the global economy.

Responding to Putin’s comments regarding potential negotiations over the war, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak dismissed them as ‘hypocritical’, according to Al Jazeera.

Putin arrived in Beijing on Thursday, marking his first overseas trip since his re-election in March and his second visit to China in just over six months. Additionally, he plans to visit the northeastern city of Harbin for a trade and investment exposition.

The relationship between Russia and China was declared as one of ‘no limits’ just days before Moscow’s alleged invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. While Beijing has refrained from providing direct military support to Russia, it has emerged as a vital economic partner amid the unprecedented sanctions imposed by the West in response to Russia’s military actions.

Both nations have seen a surge in trade, with China benefitting from affordable Russian energy imports and access to abundant natural resources, including consistent gas shipments via the Power of Siberia pipeline.

Despite the economic benefits, China remains cautious due to its ongoing trade dispute with the United States. The recent imposition of substantial tariffs by the US on various Chinese exports has further strained relations between the two economic giants.

Moreover, China has faced punitive measures over its perceived support for Russia’s actions in Ukraine, with the US imposing sanctions on numerous entities, including Chinese firms, to hinder Russia’s military capabilities, as reported by Al Jazeera.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated Washington’s commitment to imposing sanctions on enterprises involved in China’s alleged support for Russia’s war efforts in Ukraine, expressing deep concern over the matter.

Russia views the conflict in Ukraine as a struggle against a ‘collective West’ that disregarded its security concerns by advocating for the expansion of NATO and conducting military activities near its borders.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been advocating for peace, urging China’s participation in a peace summit scheduled for June in Switzerland. However, Russia, excluded from the summit, dismisses the initiative as inconsequential, insisting that negotiations must reflect ‘new realities’.

Zelenskyy’s efforts to secure support for Ukraine have included a request for Patriot missile defence systems from the US to protect the city of Kharkiv, located near the Russian border, amid ongoing advances by Russian forces in the region, Al Jazeera reported.

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