Xi Jinping may have brought Putin a peace plan for Ukraine, but Russia’s backing for China’s contest with the US is his priority

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Chinese President Xi Jinping shortly after he touched down in Moscow last night.(Reuters via Sputnik/Sergei Karpukhin)

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has welcomed his most important backer to Moscow with pomp and ceremony, on a trip that will showcase just how serious or not Xi Jinping is about pushing for peace in Ukraine.

Upon arriving in Moscow, the Chinese leader was greeted with a ceremonial honour guard at the airport and declared he was very happy to be back on Russian soil.

He met with his “dear friend” Putin at the Kremlin, the two leaders touting their close ties before sitting down to informal talks that lasted nearly four and a half hours, Russian state news agencies later reported.

Along with heaping praise on each other in televised comments, the pair were quick to touch on the business of their visit.

Putin told Xi he viewed China’s 12-point peace plan for a resolution of the Ukraine conflict with respect.

“We have carefully studied your proposals for resolving the acute crisis in Ukraine. Of course, we will have the opportunity to discuss this issue,” he said.

The trip to Moscow represents the fifth time Xi has met or virtually met Putin since the US made public warnings early last year that Russia had amassed more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s border.

With no calls at all to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, each meeting so far has been a clear display that Xi has Putin’s backing in the face of Western opposition and condemnation of the war.

Even an arrest warrant for Putin issued by the Europe-based International Criminal Court (ICC) in recent days hasn’t deterred Xi’s push to deepen relations with Russia’s leader.

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