China and Russia on Tuesday vowed to strengthen their alliance and deepen their partnership, calling it a "new era" in their relationship. The two countries expressed their concern about NATO's expansion in Asia and accused the United States of "undermining" global security.
The visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow is seen as a boost for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is subject to an International Criminal Court warrant over accusations of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children.
The two leaders discussed the Ukraine conflict, and Putin praised Beijing's 12-point position paper on the conflict, which calls for dialogue and respect for all countries' territorial sovereignty.
The Russian president accused Kyiv of not being willing to implement China's proposals, which the United States has said would simply consolidate "Russian conquest" and allow the Kremlin to prepare a fresh offensive.
Putin said he was open to talks on Ukraine and suggested that many of the provisions of the peace plan put forward by China could be taken as the basis for a peaceful settlement.
"Many of the provisions of the peace plan put forward by China... can be taken as the basis for a peaceful settlement when Kyiv and the West will be ready for it," President Putin said after talking with Xi Jinping.
"However, so far we have not seen such readiness on their part," he added.
However, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv had invited China to talks and was waiting for an answer from Beijing. Zelensky invited China to become a partner in the implementation of the peace formula and passed over their formula across all channels. He also confirmed his participation in the G7 summit via video link.
"We offered China to become a partner in the implementation of the peace formula. We passed over our formula across all channels. We invite you to dialogue. We are waiting for your answer," Zelensky told media persons on Tuesday.
China and Russia have ramped up their cooperation over the past years, both driven by a desire to counterbalance US global dominance. The Chinese leader's Moscow visit has been viewed as a boost for Putin, and the leaders called each other "dear friend" during their talks. Putin gushed over the "special nature" of the relationship between the two countries, and Xi said ties with Russia were "entering a new era."
Energy is a key focus of Xi's visit, and Putin announced the two countries had reached an agreement on the Power of Siberia 2 gas pipeline, which will connect Siberia to northwest China.
In a joint statement, the two leaders took aim at the West, accusing the United States of "undermining" global security, and expressed "great concern" over NATO's growing presence in Asia.
"The parties call on the United States to stop undermining international and regional security and global strategic stability in order to secure its unilateral military advantage," Russia and China said in the joint declaration.
The United States has accused Beijing of mulling arms exports to Moscow, claims China has vociferously denied. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Xi's Moscow visit "suggests that China feels no responsibility to hold the president accountable for the atrocities committed in Ukraine."
Interestingly, the visit by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to Ukraine coincided with Xi's visit to Moscow. Kishida visited Bucha, a town where Russian forces were accused of committing atrocities during their occupation last year. Ukraine's foreign ministry described the trip as "historic" and called it "a sign of solidarity and strong cooperation between (Ukraine and Japan)."