Will China’s Xi Support Putin’s Ukraine War?

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UPDATE: China’s leader has drawn closer to Vladmir Putin. But the invasion of Ukraine is testing the limits of their relationship.

  • Vladimir Putin and China’s leader, Xi Jinping, have a lot in common. Born eight-months apart in communist states, today they are strongmen leaders intent on working together to counter US power.
  • Their growing relationship was evident at the start of the Beijing Olympics, when Putin visited Beijing, and the two leaders vowed there would be “no limits” to their partnership.
  • Now, amid the war in Ukraine, Chinese leaders have largely toed Moscow’s line, refusing to call the attack an “invasion,” and blaming NATO and the US for fomenting the conflict.
  • China and Russia have been forging closer trade and political ties for decades. But since Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, relations have deepened.
  • Facing severe sanctions, Putin sees China as an economic lifeline. US officials also say Russia is requesting China to supply arms, according to the Financial Times.
  • But there are limits to how far Xi is willing to go to support Putin. China has close trading ties to the EU, and does not wish to undermine the global economic order it has so benefited from.
Financial Times
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