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Russia, China stand together as U.S., EU worry about Ukraine threat

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping held a video call on Wednesday to discuss bilateral relations and made a show of solidarity amid rising tensions between Moscow and the West over fears that Russia will invade neighbouring Ukraine, according to Bloomberg.

“I consider our relations a true model of interstate cooperation for the 21st century,“ Putin said at the start of a video call in comments shown on Russian state television.

“A new model of cooperation has been formed between our countries, based among other things on such principles as not interfering in internal affairs (of each other), respect for each other’s interests, determination to turn the shared border into a belt of eternal peace and good neighbourliness,”  stated  Putin, according to AP News. 

Xi said that the Russian president “strongly supported China’s efforts to protect key national interests and firmly opposed attempts to drive a wedge between our countries.” 

Calling Putin an “old friend,” Xi hailed the close relationship between the two countries.

The high-level dialogue came a week after Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden held a video summit aimed at defusing the crisis that’s been sparked by a massive Russian troop build-up on its border with Ukraine since last month. The Russian leader has since spoken by phone to a string of western leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

All have warned the Kremlin against an invasion of Ukraine. 

Putin planned to discuss the Ukraine tensions with Xi as “allies,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday.

Biden has proposed talks between Russia, the U.S. and other key NATO members. But it’s not clear if the West is ready to meet Putin’s demands for legally binding guarantees that the military alliance won’t expand further east or station offensive weapons on his country’s doorstep.