Visiting Moscow, Xi likely to offering Putin help in evading Western sanctions

18 March, 12:00 PM
Putin and Xi Jinping plan to meet on March 20-22 in Moscow (Photo:Sputnik / Sergey Bobylev / Pool via REUTERS)

Putin and Xi Jinping plan to meet on March 20-22 in Moscow (Photo:Sputnik / Sergey Bobylev / Pool via REUTERS)

Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s Moscow visit is likely to include discussions on possible aid to Russia in evading sanctions and China's interest in mediating a diplomatic end to Russia’s war on Ukraine, U.S. think tank the Institute for the Study of War or ISW wrote in its summary on March 17.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and Xi plan to meet in Moscow on March 20-22 during the Chinese leader’s state visit to Russia.

The Kremlin announced there would be the signing of “bilateral documents” and discussion of “topical issues” during meeting with the Chinese leader, while the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Xi’s visit to Moscow would be focused on “promoting peace.”

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Meanwhile, “Chinese companies have reportedly sold rifles, drone parts, and equipment to Russian entities that could be used for military purposes, and Western intelligence agencies have stated that Chinese leadership is considering the provision of lethal equipment to Russia,” ISW wrote.

According to ISW analysts, Xi is expected to discuss with Putin and Russian officials potential strategies to bypass Western sanctions, which would enable the sale and provision of Chinese equipment to Russia.

Previously, ISW analysts concluded that during a visit to Beijing on March 1, Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko and Xi signed a package of 16 agreements that could facilitate the circumvention of Russian sanctions by moving Chinese products through Belarus.

“Xi also likely aims to promote Chinese efforts aiming to position China as an impartial third-party mediator for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine,” ISW analysts noted.

China released a comprehensive 12-point peace plan ahead on the anniversary of Ukraine’s full-scale invasion by the Russian Federation. The plan includes a proposal for a ceasefire, lifting of sanctions, and the restarting of negotiations.

However, “it remains unclear what more definitive Chinese proposals for a negotiated settlement to the war would encompass”, ISW wrote.

Analysts have suggested that Xi may attempt to leverage his recent success in reconciling Iran and Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic ties to potentially mediate the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The meeting with Xi will be Putin’s first with a major world leader since an arrest warrant for him on charges of war crimes was issued by the International Criminal Court on March 17.

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