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China’s Xi to Visit Russia ‘as Soon as Next Week’ – Reports

Chinese leader Xi Jinping. TASS / kremlin.ru

Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to visit President Vladimir Putin in Russia as soon as next week, Reuters reported Monday, citing unnamed sources briefed on the matter.

Putin invited Xi to visit Moscow this spring during a video call between the leaders on Dec. 30. If confirmed, Xi's visit will take place much earlier than previously expected.

Xi, who secured an unprecedented third term in office last week, had been expected to travel to Moscow in April or early May.

The Kremlin declined to comment on reports of Xi’s visit on Monday, with Putin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov telling reporters that an announcement would be made in coordination with Beijing in due course.

China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment, and the news agency said its sources had declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Xi’s reported decision to visit Russia sooner rather than later follows China’s offer to broker a Russian-Ukrainian peace deal. 

Beijing’s diplomatic efforts have been met with skepticism by Western officials given China's close economic and political ties with Moscow.

Putin and Xi have touted their countries’ “no-limits” partnership in recent years, claiming that together the countries acted as a counterweight to the global dominance of the United States.

Washington warned last month that China was considering sending “lethal support” to Russia in its war against Ukraine, though Beijing has rejected the claims and told the U.S. to stop “spreading false information.” 

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