Putin, Xi discuss Chinese peace proposal for Ukraine as US denounces visit

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2023-03-21 | 09:23
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Putin, Xi discuss Chinese peace proposal for Ukraine as US denounces visit
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Putin, Xi discuss Chinese peace proposal for Ukraine as US denounces visit

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping discussed Beijing's proposal for a ceasefire in Ukraine during a first day of talks in Moscow and they were meeting again on Tuesday, the Kremlin said.

Xi's visit is a boost to Moscow as it struggles to make ground in its year-long war on Ukraine. But it was criticized by Washington as providing "diplomatic cover" for Putin and for the war crimes his forces are accused of committing there.

While China has sought to cast itself as a potential peace-maker in the conflict, the visit underlined an ever-closer relationship between Moscow and Beijing and their challenge to the West.

The two men spoke for more than four hours on Monday and enjoyed a state dinner at the Kremlin, warmly praising each other as a "dear friend", Russian media reported.

By contrast, Xi may only speak to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy by telephone, if at all.

But in a trip pointedly coinciding with Xi's Moscow talks, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrived in Kyiv on Tuesday to deliver a message of solidarity and support for Ukraine.

In other developments, Ukraine's defense ministry said an explosion in Dzhankoi in the north of the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula destroyed Russian cruise missiles intended for use by Russia's Black Sea fleet.

On the battlefields in eastern Ukraine, Russia kept up air raids as well as missile and rocket strikes over a wide area, the Ukrainian military said.

Ukraine said Russia's main aim was to reach the borders of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the Donbas, large areas of which are already under Russian control.

Russian forces had again made attacks on the city of Bakhmut - site of the longest and bloodiest battle of the war - and other targets but had been repelled, it said.

Reuters 
 

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