Putin hails China's 'genuine desire' to help resolve Ukraine war

A large video screen shows China's President Xi Jinping (R) shaking hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin before a meeting with head of state members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) at the SCO Summit in Qingdao, China's Shandong province, on June 10, 2018. [AFP]

Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed Beijing's "genuine desire" to help resolve the Ukraine crisis, in an interview with Chinese state media published Wednesday ahead of a two-day visit to the country.

Putin arrives in Beijing on Thursday to meet his "dear friend" Xi Jinping, seeking to win greater support from China for his war effort in Ukraine and isolated economy.

The visit, in which he will also travel to the northeastern city of Harbin for a trade and investment expo, is Putin's first trip abroad since his March re-election and his second in just over six months to China.

"We commend China's approaches to resolving the crisis in Ukraine," Putin told the Xinhua state news agency in a Moscow interview, which was also carried in English on the Kremlin website.

"Beijing is well aware of its root causes and global geopolitical significance," Putin said, referring to a 12-point position paper published by China in February 2023 on reaching a political settlement to the crisis.

"The ideas and proposals contained in the document show the genuine desire of our Chinese friends to help stabilise the situation," Putin said.

Days before Russia launched its full-scale military assault on Ukraine in February 2022, Beijing and Moscow declared a "no limits" partnership and have since boosted trade to record highs.

Moscow has looked to China as a crucial economic lifeline since the West hit Russia with unprecedented sanctions over its military offensive.

China has meanwhile benefited from cheap Russian energy imports and access to vast natural resources, including steady gas shipments via the Power of Siberia pipeline.

But their close economic partnership has come under scrutiny in the West, with the United States threatening to sanction overseas banks and companies that work with Moscow.