Putin said Xi has concerns over war
Beijing’s support for Moscow’s war in Ukraine looks shakier after Xi Jinping, China’s leader, met with Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, at an in-person summit in Uzbekistan yesterday (September 15).
According to news agencies, in remarks after the meeting, Putin said Moscow understood that China had “questions and concerns” about the war. It was a notable, if cryptic, admission that Beijing may not fully approve of the invasion. Xi also steered clear of any mention of Ukraine in public remarks.
Taken together, it was a sign that Russia lacked the full backing of its most powerful international partner. It also comes at a time when the Russian military is trying to recover from a humiliating rout in northeastern Ukraine in recent days. Putin is also facing growing criticism inside Russia.
The two authoritarian leaders met during a summit meant to signal the strength of their partnership. The meeting was particularly important to Putin, whom the U.S. and its allies have further isolated since the war.
In February, before the invasion and the start of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, the two countries issued a joint statement describing their partnership as having “no limits.” Yesterday, Xi struck a more subdued tone, carefully avoiding any endorsement of specific Russian policies and instead offering generalities about China’s and Russia’s views of the world.