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Putin, Xi hail Russia-China relations as ‘better than alliance’

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 holds a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on December 15, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Presidents of Russia and China have hailed the relationship between their countries as better than “alliance,” at a time of high tensions with the West.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, talked through a video call on Wednesday, during which they promised to defend the security interests of both nations.

The Chinese president “said that although they are not allied, their effectiveness even exceeds this level,” said Russian foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov on Wednesday.

“Such a figurative expression very accurately reflects the essence of what is happening now in relations between our two countries.” Ushakov said Xi had offered support to Putin for his push to obtain binding security guarantees for Russia from the West.

According to the Russian official, the pair also expressed their "negative view" of the creation of new military alliances known as the AUKUS between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. They also criticized the Indo-Pacific "Quad" of Australia, India, Japan and the United States. The partnerships, according to the pair, undermine the foundations of nuclear non-proliferation in the region, Ushakov said.

Calling Putin an “old friend,” Xi said the Russian leader had “firmly supported China in defending its core interests and opposed attempts to divide China and Russia,” according to Chinese official broadcaster CCTV. Xi also said he was willing to roll out new plans for cooperation in various areas with Moscow.

“China and Russia should increase their joint efforts to more effectively safeguard the security interests of both parties,” Xi said.

The high-level dialog was held a week after Putin spoke to US President Joe Biden, during which Biden warned Russia against invading Ukraine, an allegation Moscow has repeatedly denied. Putin also set out his demand for security pledges during the talks with Biden.

The Russian leader briefed Xi on his conversation with the US president, according to the Kremlin. Putin also said he looked forward to meeting Xi at the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February. Last week, the White House said it would boycott the games.

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