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Russia | The Guardian: Putin should be under no illusion – Xi is not Russia’s knight in shining armour | Olga Chyzh

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China’s leader knows full well his country cannot pay the price – economic or political – of openly challenging the west

The three-day visit of Xi Jinping to Russia was packed with action: a crepe and quail meal, photo ops and ceremonial signings. Pomp and circumstance aside, Xi’s visit to Russia did not live up to Putin’s hopes and expectations. As it turns out, the obvious similarities between the two leaders – their autocratic hold on power and their tenuous relationship with the west – do not directly translate into common interests and goals. Xi came and went, making no firm commitments and leaving Putin and his cronies agape with disappointment.

Russian hopes for this visit could not have been any higher. Russia looks to China, the only major power that has not condemned the invasion of Ukraine, as its economic bondsman, a potential weapons supplier and a “peace” advocate. From the first days of the invasion, Russian intellectuals and opinion leaders have prominently featured China as a key player that would help Russia win the war. China would jump in to substitute the lost western exports, provide Russia with much needed military equipment and supplies, and help negotiate peace on Russia’s terms. What was always missing from these accounts, however, is China’s motivation.

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Russia | The Guardian

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