Meeting of minds? Putin and Xi to meet before the end of the year
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will speak before the end of the year, Russian state news agency TASS said on Monday, without giving details of the timing or format.
It quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying the two sides would release details in due course.
Putin and Xi proclaimed a “no limits” partnership between the two countries when the Russian leader visited Beijing in February, three weeks before his invasion of Ukraine.
With Western countries condemning the war and slamming Russia’s economy with sanctions, the partnership with China has taken on even greater importance for Putin, though he publicly acknowledged in September that Beijing had expressed “questions and concern” over Ukraine.
Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Putin’s Security Council, met Xi on a visit to Beijing last week.
Xi told Medvedev that China hopes all parties in the Ukraine crisis maintain restraint and resolve security concerns through political means, China’s state news agency Xinhua reported.
Meanwhile, the war on Ukraine did not pause for Christmas despite Russian President Vladimir Putin saying he was open to negotiations, with his forces launching more than 40 rocket attacks on Christmas Day, Ukraine’s military said on Monday.
Three Russian military personnel were killed early on Monday by falling wreckage of a Ukrainian drone that was shot down as it was attacking a base in Russia’s Saratov region, Russian news agencies reported, citing the defence ministry.
It was the second attack on the base this month. The base, near the city of Saratov, about 730 km (450 miles) southeast of Moscow and hundreds of kilometres from the front lines in Ukraine, was hit on Dec. 5 in what Russia said was Ukrainian drone attacks on two Russian air bases that day.
Reuters could not immediately verify the reports.
Putin on Sunday again said he was open to negotiations and blamed Ukraine and its Western allies failing to engage in talks, a stance the United States has previously dismissed as posturing given the relentless Russian attacks.