Putin and Xi to meet as war shifts
Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, is preparing to meet with Xi Jinping, the leader of China, at an in-person summit in Uzbekistan later this week. The conversation comes at a time of weakness for both leaders as Russia suffers losses in Ukraine and China endures an economic slowdown.
Putin will most likely go into the meeting looking to Xi as a lifeline. China has emerged as a major purchaser of Russian commodities, which has helped Moscow replenish its coffers and bear the brunt of Western sanctions. But now, Russia is rapidly losing steam in Ukraine, retreating from territory it comfortably held just a few days ago.
Beijing will enter the conversation cautious as it weighs whether to double down or let Russia navigate the setbacks on its own. Moscow has supported its stance on Taiwan, and China can’t afford a humiliating defeat.
But Beijing does not want to risk Western sanctions as the war continues to backfire on Russia. And it has its own slowing economy to worry about. Tens of millions of people remain under pandemic lockdowns and frustration is mounting as Xi prepares to secure a third term in power next month.
Tensions between the U.S. and China are fraught as Moscow and Beijing grow closer, a dynamic that’s reminiscent of the Cold War, write experts.
Putin will also meet with Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, at the summit to discuss trade and food supplies, Reuters reports.