Putin to offer 'clarifications' on Russia's position on Ukraine during Xi visit

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Putin to offer 'clarifications' on Russia's position on Ukraine during Xi visit

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a ceremony marking International Women’s Day at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Mar 8, 2023. (Photo: Pool via Reuters/Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel)

20 Mar 2023 06:59PM (Updated: 20 Mar 2023 06:59PM)

President Vladimir Putin will provide Chinese President Xi Jinping with detailed “clarifications” on Russia’s point of view on the Ukraine conflict during Xi’s state visit to Russia that begins on Monday (Mar 20), the Kremlin said.

During a call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the two leaders would discuss themes in a peace plan for Ukraine proposed by Beijing last month.

“One way or another, the topics that figured in this plan will inevitably be touched upon during the exchange of views on Ukraine” between Putin and Xi, Peskov said.

“But here, of course, exhaustive clarifications will be given by President Putin, so that President Xi can get a first-hand view of the current moment from the Russian side.”

China’s 12-point paper, which called for dialogue between the two sides, contained no roadmap for how to end the war, now in its 13th month. Ukraine cautiously welcomed it but the United States was dismissive, given China’s refusal to condemn Russia’s invasion.

Xi was due to arrive in Moscow around 10.30am GMT (6.30pm, Singapore time) and to hold one-to-one “informal” talks with Putin on Monday afternoon, followed by dinner. Formal talks are scheduled for Tuesday.

Asked if China could become an intermediary between Moscow and Washington, Peskov declined to answer directly.

“For the time being, we see a continuing line on preventing any slowdown in hostilities. Washington, the State Department and the US National Security Council are talking about this openly and officially,” he said.

Moscow accuses the United States and other Western countries of pouring weapons into Ukraine in order to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia. Washington and its allies say they are arming Ukraine to help it defend against an unprovoked Russian invasion and imperial-style land grab.

“The United States is sticking to its position, which is aimed at further provoking the conflict, preventing any decrease in the intensity of hostilities and pumping weapons into Ukraine,” Peskov said.

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