Xi Jinping Visits Moscow Walking a Diplomatic Tightrope

Chinese President Xi has arrived in Moscow, his first trip since securing an unprecedented third presidential term last month, where Putin will expect Beijing to show solidarity against the West’s global hegemony, while Xi wants to present his country as a global peacemaker to end the war in Ukraine. Xi will also be the first leader to meet with Putin since the International Criminal Court (ICC) has recently issued an arrest warrant for Putin over his war crimes in Ukraine.

Putin will be hoping to receive a powerful message of alliance from China, which would stand with Russia. For Xi, the visit will be a diplomatic tightrope, with China releasing a 12-point proposal to solve the Ukraine crisis, but at the same time strengthening ties with its ally.

“The document serves as a constructive factor in neutralizing the consequences of the crisis and promoting a political settlement,” Xi said.

“Complex problems do not have simple solutions,” added Xi.

Both Kyiv and its Western allies would likely reject the idea of a ceasefire as they consider it a ploy to buy the Kremlin more time to reinforce, and delay a Ukrainian counter-offensive.

Ukrainian President Zelenskiy has said he will only consider peace settlements after Russian troops leave Ukrainian territory.

China’s proposal contains only general statements and no concrete proposal on how to end the year-long war.

Russia and China had signed a “no limits” strategic partnership last year during Putin’s visit to Beijing just weeks before the invasion of Ukraine.

The United States and its allies are deeply skeptical of China’s motives, noting it has declined to condemn Russia and provided it with an economic lifeline as other countries heap sanctions on it.

The United States and NATO have recently accused China of considering supplying arms to Russia and warned it against doing so.

In separate news, justice ministers from around the world will meet in London on Monday to discuss support for the ICC ruling.

“We are gathering in London today united by one cause: to hold war criminals to account for the atrocities committed in Ukraine during this unjust, unprovoked and unlawful invasion,” British Deputy Prime Minister Raab said.

Several European Union countries will also sign an agreement on Monday in Brussels to buy 155 mm artillery shells for Ukraine, with the first orders possibly placed by the end of May.

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