U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday claimed that President Xi’s visit to the Kremlin “a diplomatic cover for Russia to continue to commit” war crimes.
The visit “suggests that China feels no responsibility to hold the president accountable for the atrocities committed in Ukraine,” Blinken said of Putin.
Xi’s state visit, the first visit to Russia since 2019, comes days after a warrant against Putin was issued by the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) for the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia.
“It is symbolic that exactly 10 years ago we met here – you made your first visit as President of the People’s Republic of China to Russia. During this time, we have taken significant steps in the development of our relations,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
President Putin also noted that his country is “open” to Beijing’s so-called peace plan to end Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
During the March 20 meeting in Moscow, Xi called Russia’s war “a Ukrainian crisis,” adding that Moscow and Beijing “share similar goals.”
China published a 12-point document in late February, offering to use it as a basis for future peace talks between Ukraine and Russia.
During the visit, the two leaders reiterated respect for each other, with Putin saying that he was “slightly envious” of China’s economic “breakthrough” over the past few decades.
Putin added that the trade turnover of the two countries “has more than doubled” over those 10 years, rising from $87 billion to $185 billion.
Meanwhile, the Russian leader also said the Kremlin “carefully reviewed” China’s 12-point “peace plan” released on the one-year anniversary of the full-scale invasion and expressed his readiness to discuss it with Xi.
Beijing’s plan calls on all parties to respect the sovereignty of all nations, safeguard nuclear facilities, facilitate grain exports, and protect civilians and prisoners of war.
Xi arrived in Moscow on March 20 at Putin’s invitation for his first state visit to Russia since the beginning of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year.