Highlights

  • Xi, Putin hold video call amid international tensions

  • Russia has denied any plans to attack Ukraine and blamed Kyiv

  • Putin tells Xi he hopes to meet in person at Olympics

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Xi-Putin firm up China-Russia alliance in video summit amid US, EU pushback

Russia has denied any plans to attack Ukraine and blamed Kyiv for its own military build-up in the war-torn country.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Wednesday held a virtual summit. The meet was a part of their efforts to build a strategic alliance against the increasing adversity against them from the United States and the European Union on a host of issues ranging from human rights to Russian troop build-up near Ukraine's border.

The video summit took place in the immediate backdrop of tensions in recent weeks over Russia massing tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine's border. The move sparked fears in Kiev and the West that Moscow is planning a new invasion.

Russia has denied any plans to attack Ukraine and blamed Kiev for its own military build-up in the war-torn country.

Also watch: Vladimir Putin drove a taxi after fall of Soviet Union

The summit took place about eight days after Putin had a similar virtual meeting with US President Joe Biden on December 7.

As he began Wednesday's meeting, Putin welcomed Xi by waving his hand and called him his "dear friend".

The Chinese leader responded with the same gesture and a broad smile, Russia’s state-run TASS news agency reported.

"Despite the continuing sanitary and epidemic restrictions we maintain permanent contact," Putin said.

Xi and Putin have met 36 times since the Chinese leader assumed his role as the president in 2013. The meetings included a video conference held in June, according to Russian media reports.

In a major gesture of friendship, Putin said he will attend the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in February next year to dent the diplomatic boycott being organised by the US to highlight China’s human rights excesses against Uygur Muslims in Xinjiang province.

Putin also backed China’s stand that Taiwan is an integral part of its mainland.

Russia will be the staunchest supporter of the Chinese government's justified position on the Taiwan question and resolutely oppose any forces using the Taiwan question to undermine China's interests, Putin said.

In his speech, Xi said certain international forces under the guise of democracy and human rights are interfering in the internal affairs of China and Russia, and trampling on international law.

"China and Russia should increase their joint efforts to more effectively safeguard the security interests of both parties," China's state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying.

Putin said he considers "these relations a real example of interstate cooperation in the 21st century”, Moscow Times online newspaper reported.

“Our countries have formed a new model of cooperation,” Putin told Xi, underlining that Russia-China ties are a paradigm of international relations in the 21st century.

He lauded Russian-Chinese coordination on the world stage as “a significant factor of stability in international relations”.

Xi said China and Russia have become major champions of real multilateralism and international fairness and justice, in an apparent reference to their alliance against the US, the EU and other Western countries push back against them on a host of issues, including human rights.

The Chinese president said Putin “strongly supported China's efforts to protect key national interests and firmly opposed attempts to drive a wedge between our countries”. “I appreciate it very much,” he said.

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