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Putin announces plans to visit China in May, first after his poll victory

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President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting, discussing measures in response to the terrorist attacks at the Crocus City Hall concert venue, via a video conference, Russia, March 25, 2024.(Photo: PTI)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he plans to visit China in May, in what could become the first foreign trip for the Russian leader after he extended his rule by six more years in an election that offered voters little real choice.

Putin announced the plans for the visit at a congress of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs in Moscow. He didn’t say when exactly it would take place and didn’t offer any other details.

Putin’s inauguration is scheduled for May 7, Russian lawmakers said earlier this week. Last month, the 71-year-old Russian leader secured his fifth term in office in a vote with no real opposition, extending his 24-year rule.

Russia’s growing economic and diplomatic isolation because of its war against Ukraine has made it increasingly reliant on China, its former rival for leadership of the Communist bloc during the Cold War.

According to a recent US assessment, China has surged sales to Russia of machine tools, microelectronics and other technology that Moscow in turn is using to produce missiles, tanks, aircraft and other weaponry for use in the conflict.

China has repeatedly said it isn’t providing Russia with arms or military assistance, although it has maintained robust economic connections with Moscow.

Beijing has not provided direct lethal military support for Russia and has sought to project itself as neutral in the Ukraine conflict. It has refused to condemn Moscow’s actions and declared in 2022 that it had a no-limits friendship with Russia. The country has denounced Western sanctions against Moscow, and accused Nato and the United States of provoking Putin’s invasion.

China has also proposed a peace plan that was largely dismissed by Ukraine’s allies, who insisted that Moscow must withdraw its forces from the neighbouring country as a condition for peace.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Apr 26 2024 | 7:21 AM IST

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