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Russian, Chinese presidents to discuss NATO’s belligerent rhetoric: Kremlin

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping (file photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, are scheduled to discuss the tense situation in Europe and NATO's belligerent rhetoric as tensions escalate between Moscow and Washington over Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov made the announcement on Tuesday and said the talks are going to take place via video link on Wednesday.

"The sides will exchange their views on international affairs. The recent developments in international affairs, especially on the European continent, are now very tense and this definitely requires discussion between the allies, between Moscow and Beijing," Peskov said.

The Kremlin spokesman added that Russia saw "a very aggressive rhetoric both from NATO and the US," which needs to be discussed in the virtual meeting.

Peskov said the two presidents were set to discuss a range of other issues, as well. "There is a plethora of questions on the agenda: talks on energy, cooperation in the field of high tech, joint investments, and trade," he said.

The meeting comes amid rising tensions between Washington and Moscow over the situation around Ukraine and the expansion of NATO's activities close to Russia's western borders.

Earlier in the day, President Putin warned that the eastward expansion of the US-led military alliance constituted a "direct threat" to the security of his country.

The United States, its NATO allies, and Ukraine have over the past weeks accused Moscow of amassing troops near Ukraine's border for a possible invasion. Russia has dismissed the allegation. Moscow says Washington is involved in aggressive moves in the Black Sea, where Ukraine and the United States have held military drills recently.

The Russian president has repeatedly warned the West and Kiev against crossing the Kremlin's red lines of staging military exercises in and sending weaponry to Ukraine.

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