Correspondent in Moscow
Amid ongoing tensions over Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin will leave for China today to participate at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics and meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in an attempt to endorse his current policy of confrontation with the neighboring country and the West, and take the opportunity to further strengthen ties with the world’s second largest economy.
The presidential advisor for international affairs, Yuri Ushakov, yesterday wanted to underline that there will be a joint declaration highlighting the “common vision” of international security shared by Beijing and Moscow, unlike the criteria used by the United States, the European Union and NATO, which accuse Russia of preparing a military intervention in Ukraine and urge it to withdraw its troops from the border.
“A joint declaration on the entry of international relations into a new era has been prepared in which we will find a common vision of Russia and China (…) especially in security matters, “said Ushakov. In his words, “China supports Russian security demands”, which seek to eradicate NATO from Eastern Europe and prevent Ukraine from being admitted to its fold, but which the West has already rejected.
Indeed, last month Beijing called on Western countries to “take seriously” the “security guarantees” that the Kremlin demands and find a satisfactory solution. In addition, although the involvement of China in warlike movements that can be interpreted as supporting Russia against Ukraine is far from what is being observed in relation to BelarusFor example, it is true that the Navy and the Army of the People’s Republic of China frequently participate in maneuvers organized by Moscow.
Ushakov revealed yesterday that Russia and China will sign 15 agreements on this occasion, one of which provides for thethe creation of a joint financial system able to dodge Western sanctions. Another will be dedicated to gas supplies. But he said nothing about the content of the other 13.
Along with Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Energy Minister Nikolai Shulguinov, the head of the oil company Rosneft, Igor Sechin and Ushakov himself, among others, will travel today. No more than six members in the delegation, at the request of Beijing in the face of the worsening of the pandemic, instead of the twenty that the Russian president usually accompanies. Not even the director of the energy giant, Gazprom, Alexei Miller, has been included.
Putin and Xi maintained in December a video conference a week that the head of the Kremlin had a conversation with his American counterpart, Joe Biden, about the conflict in Ukraine, in which he had to hear that an attack on Ukraine would be very expensive in terms of sanctions. However, the Chinese president’s words were much more comforting, he called him an “old friend.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism