Putin tells Xi Russia-China relations are at their ‘best’

Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed relations with China, saying they were “at their best period in history,” during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The two leaders met in the Kazakh capital of Astana on Wednesday, where they were attending a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). The Eurasian security and defense club is seen by Moscow and Beijing as an instrument to counter the influence of the US and its allies in international affairs.

Alongside Russia and China, four Central Asian states, India, Iran and Pakistan are members of the SCO.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was also expected to make an appearance.

Russia and China have deepened their political, military and economic ties since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

What did the two leaders say?

Putin hailed the SCO as “strengthening its role as one of the key pillars of a fair multipolar world order” in opening remarks during a meeting with Xi.

“Russian-Chinese relations, our comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation, are experiencing their best period in history,” Putin said.

For his part, Xi called Putin his “old friend” and said Sino-Russian relations were at a “high level.”

“In the face of the turbulent international situation and external environment, the two sides should continue to uphold the original aspiration of friendship for generations to come,” Xi said.

Putin, Erdogan discuss end to Ukraine war

Putin also met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the SCO in Astana.

The Turkish leader said Ankara could help establish a basis to end the Ukraine-Russia war. He added that a fair peace suiting the two sides was possible.

Putin and Erdogan also discussed the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip, as well as ways to end the conflict in Syria, according to a Turkish presidency statement.

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