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Xi Jinping ‘difficult’ moment with Putin over Ukraine as China ‘reassesses’ Russia relations | World | News

Xi reiterated his support for Putin and Russia at a meeting in Beijing in early February ahead of the Winter Olympics. The leaders of the two superpowers declared that relations between their neighbors were “borderless”. Their extraordinary 5,000-word joint statement also said: “No area of ​​cooperation is ‘forbidden’.” At the time, Russia was gathering weapons and more than 100,000 troops near its border with Ukraine.

Then, on February 24, after months of denial by the Kremlin that invasion was imminent, Russia invaded its former Soviet neighbour.

After Moscow’s military intervention, China abstained from the UN Security Council and the General Assembly voted to condemn Russia.

However, with the bloodshed in Ukraine continuing, Xi is now facing a “difficult” moment in his relationship with Putin, according to political scientist Peter Frankopan, professor of global history at Oxford University.

Asked about the ties between the two leaders, the academic explained that Xi would find it difficult to turn a blind eye to Putin’s barbaric attacks in Ukraine, in which more than 1,000 civilians have been killed.

He told IpadNews.co.uk: “It’s really hard to try and sit on the fence. You side with the man who blew up the maternity hospital.

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“This is what Russia has done. It’s very difficult.

“And there has been a lot of chatter in China, especially in the last 10 days of reassessment.

“The Chinese people were very supportive of Russia at first and thought it was all the West’s fault.

“Now, I think that’s starting to change a little bit. Russia exploded.”

Prof Frankopan was referring to the bombing of a children’s and maternity hospital in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, one of the most shocking incidents in the conflict so far.

In his assessment of Sino-Russian relations, Prof Frankopan claimed that China may be concerned about Russia’s latest efforts to evade sanctions designed to cripple its economy, imposed over the war in Ukraine.

In a potential blow to Chinese trade, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced Russia was allowing retailers to import products from abroad without permission from copyright holders.

Prof Frankopan said: “This afternoon, Russia has announced that they will not own the copyright to the film, the music.

“They are going out of all the international agreements we have to make it free for all.

“That’s not good for the global community. It’s not great for countries like China that have invested quite a lot in technology and patent protection.

“It’s a bit tricky, but I think the Russian track might bring someone else down.

“And that’s also a cause for concern for China.”