China’s Xi to meet Putin in Moscow, speak to Zelenskyy: reports

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Chinese President Xi Jinping is planning to visit Moscow to meet with Vladimir Putin as early as next week, according to reports by Reuters and the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. newspaper added that Xi would also call Ukraine’s leader, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which will be the first time the two men will have had direct communication, at least publicly, since the Russian invasion started more than a year ago.

The Kremlin last week refused to comment on reports saying that Xi would be in the Russian capital on March 21.

Xi, who broke with tradition and embarked on his third five-year term as president last week, has long considered Putin his “old friend,” while the two governments reached a “no-limit partnership” shortly before Putin waged war on Ukraine.

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There was no immediate response from Beijing or Moscow.

Sergii Nikoforov, Zelenskyy’s spokesman, would not deny or confirm the upcoming talks. “I don’t have any additional information … yet,” he said.

The U.S. has over recent weeks been accusing China of considering sending lethal arms to Russia; Beijing has labelled that as “slandering” tactics.

Meanwhile, Beijing has proposed a vaguely worded peace proposal. Zelenskyy has said he would be open to discussing part of the plan in a meeting with Xi, even as the West criticized Beijing for showing pro-Russia bias in the text.

Veronika Melkozerova contributed reporting from Kyiv.