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Chinese, Russian leaders meet Thursday to discuss ‘no limits’ partnership

Russian President Vladimir V. Putin and China’s top leader Xi Jinping will meet in Uzbekistan, marking Xi’s first trip overseas since the COVID-19 pandemic

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Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, China’s top leader Xi Jinping stand in suits in front of their country’s flags

Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk to each other during their meeting in Beijing, China, on Feb. 4, 2022.

Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting with China’s top leader Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan on Thursday to meet for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine.

The two leaders meet in a time of crisis for both nations. Russia suffered the most severe losses in the country’s war in Ukraine yet, while China is experiencing a dramatic slowdown in the economy.

“Xi’s China has been carrying out an exquisite tightrope walk with regard to Russia,” Rana Mitter, a professor of history and politics at Oxford University told The New York Times. “It is keen to show support for Russia in general, but finds active support for an invasion too politically embarrassing to contemplate and wants Moscow to resolve matters one way or another.”

The trip marks Xi’s first trip outside of China since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both leaders are expected to “show their opposition to the United States just as the West seeks to punish Russia for the Ukraine War,” Reuters reports.

When was the last time Putin and Xi met?

In February, Xi and Putin met when Putin visited China for the Winter Olympics held in Beijing. At that time, they “signed a joint statement declaring their partnerships was one of ‘no limits,’” according to The Washington Post.

The statement also declared that they were working toward “a vision for a new international order that is not dominated by the West,” The Washington Post reports.

China has not denounced the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

And it has also provided economic support to Russia during a time of Western sanctions on the country. While Russia has provided China with access to critical natural resources, per Reuters.