Xi Jinping visits Moscow as the Russo-Ukrainian War Rages
Chinese President Xi Jinping was warmly welcomed to the Kremlin on Monday by Russian President Vladmir Putin to discuss and strengthen ties between the two countries as Russia’s Ukrainian invasion remains ongoing. According to the Associated Press, Xi’s three-day visit intends to deepen the “no-limit friendship” between Russia and China, as Xi himself termed it in the past, and begin discussions on an end to Russia’s war.
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has persisted for more than a year now and has become an expensive conflict, not only in terms of the loss of lives and damages caused to both parties, but also to the president’s, as well as the country’s, reputation. According to the New York Times, Russian forces are nearing 200,000 combat-related casualties with a confirmed 17,000 Russians slain. This 17,000 figure is still under debate, as there are estimates of around 50,000 Russian troops as unconfirmed deaths, desertions, or missing, all unrecovered. On the other side, Ukraine was estimated to have lost at least 13,000 soldiers in combat, with civilians casualties also high.
Countries in the Western sphere of influence have also gotten involved, namely members of NATO, and the European Union. The EU alone has provided €3.1 billion to Ukraine, alongside lethal arms, with Poland being the latest to provide significant assistance last Thursday, providing four state-of-the-art fighter jets to turn the tides on Russian air superiority over areas like Kiev. Meanwhile, the Russians are still using outdated and outclassed arms and tanks, some dating back to Soviet technology from the Second World War.
An increase in war crimes, including the murder of non-combatants, has called for criminal charges against Vladmir Putin, with the International Criminal Court recently issuing an arrest warrant for the president.
By many country’s accounts, including Russia herself, the invasion of Ukraine has been a historically blunderous war strategy that has embarrassed the “Superpower” on the world stage. Seeing a desperate Russia, China has been buying up tons of Russian oil on the cheap due to sanctions making western countries look for other sources, namely Saudi Arabia.
Much of the investment that China has put into Russian markets requires them to bounce back from the turmoil they are currently in, making Beijing have a direct interest in ending this Ukrainian conflict. According to the Washington Post, Beijing has propped themselves up as potential negotiators in finding a cease-fire and has crafted a 12-point proposal to reach such a conclusion.
The 12-point proposition would be bad for Ukraine, as it is absent of any demand to withdraw troops back to Moscow, but rather would either cause an occupied Russian state in Ukraine, or would expand Russian borders to include acquired land. The United States, by way of National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, stated its position on Tuesday that Xi needs to urge Russia to withdraw troops before this conflict ends, and warned Ukraine that accepting any peace agreement now would give Putin “the time and space he needs to try to reequip.”
Meanwhile, last Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida traveled to Kyiv in an effort to symbolize Western support for Ukraine. The two visits by the northeast Asian countries emphasizes the division of interests in that region of the world, with Japan pledging sizable aid and enforcements to the Ukrainian war effort. In February, just last month, Tokyo pledged $5.5 billion in humanitarian and refugee aid to Ukraine. Kishida also traveled to New Delhi before his visit to Ukraine, and there pledged $75 billion to countries in the Indo-Pacific, and thus entering a pseudo-bid war with China in worldly influence in the Asian hemisphere.