China’s top leader Xi Jinping will visit Russia next week to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The move shows an effort “to strengthen ties” between Russia and China, and it could have impacts on the war in Ukraine, The New York Times reported.

The trip will be watched by the U.S., Europe and other Western countries to see if the countries declare an alliance. Three weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine, Putin visited Xi in Beijing and discussed a “no limits” friendship, per the Times.

Has China provided aid to Russia during the war?

China has not provided any weaponry or direct aid to Russia in its efforts to conquer Ukraine, “but they have been considering it,” CNN reported.

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According to BBC, Russia declared the two world leaders would be talking about a “comprehensive partnership and strategic co-operation” during the meeting.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang expressed concerns on Thursday about the war between Ukraine and Russia getting drawn out and “spinning out of control,” NPR reported.

Qin said China has “always upheld an objective and fair stance on the Ukraine issue, has committed itself to promoting peace and advancing negotiations and calls on the international community to create conditions for peace talks,” per NPR.

What will Xi and Putin be doing during meetings?

Monday, the leaders will be having lunch and Tuesday is when talks will take place, per BBC.

They also plan on signing “important” bilateral documents, according to The Guardian.

It appears Xi wants to support his “best friend,” as Xi has called Putin in the past, but China also wants to protect its own interests after suffering difficult economic downturns during the COVID-19 pandemic, per The Guardian.

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How will the U.S. respond to Xi’s visit with Putin?

The U.S. will be monitoring the visit closely next week.

“We think that it’s important that China has the perspective of Ukraine,” Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told CNN. ”Clearly, Russia’s motivations are nefarious. They illegally invaded and have occupied Ukraine. We hope that President Xi and the Chinese government would be able to have the benefit of understanding what exactly the impact of their support to Russia is having.”

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