Putin unlikely to get desired support from Chinese leader’s visit to Moscow, says ISW
Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin at a meeting on March 20, 2023 (Photo:Sputnik/Sergei Karpukhin/Pool via REUTERS)
Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in Moscow on March 20 and offered a more reserved vision of Russian-Chinese relations than Putin likely sought, the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War or ISW said in its March 20 report.
Although Xi and Putin touted the strength of Chinese-Russian relations in their meeting on March 20, they offered different interpretations of the scale of future relations in articles they published on March 19, ISW analysts said.
Putin published an article in Chinese state media in which he argued that Russia and China are building a partnership for the formation of a multipolar world order in the face of the collective West’s seeking to dominate, and the United States pursuing a policy of dual containment against China and Russia.
In turn, Xi offered a less aggressive overarching goal for Russian-Chinese relations in his article published in Russian state media outlet Rossiskaya Gazeta, in which he noted that Russia and China are generally pursuing a multipolar world order but not specifically against an adversarial West.
Xi instead focused heavily on presenting China as a viable third-party mediator to the war in Ukraine whose plan for negotiations “reflects the unity of views of the world community on overcoming the Ukrainian crisis.”
Putin wrote that Russia welcomes China’s willingness to “play a constructive role in crisis management” regarding the war in Ukraine, but Putin likely was hoping for Xi to adopt a similarly aggressive rhetorical line against the West.
ISW wrote that Xi’s refusal to explicitly align China with Russia in Putin’s envisioned geopolitical conflict with the West is a notable departure from China’s declared “no limits partnership” with Russia preceding the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Xi’s rhetoric suggests that he is not inclined to fully give Russia the economic and political support that Russia needs to reverse setbacks in Ukraine,” the analysts said.
On the other hand, according to ISW, Putin and Xi offered somewhat similar visions for increased Chinese-Russian economic partnership, and it is likely that the two will sign bilateral trade and economic agreements during Xi’s visit, some of which will likely aim to facilitate schemes for sanctions evasion.
Xi will also likely offer a more concrete proposal for a negotiated settlement to the war in Ukraine, although it remains unclear what his proposal will entail and how receptive the Kremlin will be. The prospects of China supplying Russia with military equipment also remain unclear, ISW wrote.
Other conclusions of ISW analysts over the past day:
· Putin is likely increasing his attempts to rally the rest of the world against the West, though it remains unlikely that he will achieve tangible results.
· Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin appears to maintain powerful political leverage and regional connections despite some officials’ attempts to distance themselves. Russian authorities are likely unsure of how to redefine Wagner’s new role following Prigozhin’s overextension of Wagner resources and support.
· The Russian information space continues to respond to the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s issuance of arrest warrants for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and Russian Commissioner on Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova with ire and anxiety.
· Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (HUR) Spokesperson Andriy Yusov stated that the frequency of large Russian missile attacks has decreased.
US expects China to deepen ties with Russia
· Russia requested that the UN Security Council discuss Israeli airstrikes in Syria, possibly in retaliation for Israel’s approval of export licenses for anti-drone jamming systems for Ukraine.
· Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian and Russian forces conducted offensive operations northeast of Kupyansk.
· Russian forces continued offensive operations near Svatove and Kreminna.
· Russian forces continued making advances in and around Bakhmut.
· Russian forces continued ground attacks along the Avdiyivka-Donetsk City frontline and made marginal gains near Avdiyivka.
· Russian sources claim that Russian forces are building up defensive fortifications and repelled Ukrainian reconnaissance-in-force operations in Zaporizhzhya Oblast.
· Russian sources accused unknown actors of planting a bomb that exploded near a gas pipeline in occupied Simferopol, Crimea.
· Russian dictator Vladimir Putin acknowledged Russian difficulties obtaining components for high-tech industrial production.
· Ukrainian partisans killed Russia-ppointed head of the Kherson Oblast pre-detention center Serhii Moskalenko with an improvised explosive device on March 17.
Battle for Bakhmut: battle map
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