The Kremlin announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet via videoconference on Friday, in the context of the accelerating rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing since the Russian attack on Ukraine.
• Also read: New “massive” Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure
• Also read: Putin launches new ships and promotes his fleet
• Also read: Lavrov says Moscow will achieve its goals through ‘patience’
“The exchange of views on the most acute regional problems will be very important, some (problems) are closer to us, Russia, others are closer to China,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.
“Our leaders will address these issues in the spirit of our true strategic partnership,” Mr. Peskov added, adding that the meeting will take place “in the early part of the day” at Moscow time (GMT+3).
According to Dmitry Peskov, the exchange will also concern “bilateral relations” and “a sharp increase in trade volume” between the economies of the two countries.
In recent months, Russia has sought to strengthen its relations with Asia, especially with China, in the face of Western sanctions imposed on it after its attack on Ukraine.
Moscow and Beijing present themselves as a geopolitical counterweight to the United States and its allies, and have conducted several joint military exercises in recent months, including a naval one this week in the East China Sea.
Russia is also trying to increase its gas supplies to the energy-intensive Chinese economy, and has accelerated this movement.
Indeed, since launching its military offensive against Ukraine, Moscow has been targeted by Western economic sanctions and has sharply curtailed hydrocarbon shipments to Europe, turning to Asia to compensate.
Last week, Vladimir Putin officially launched the exploitation of a huge deposit located in Siberia, which would enable increased exports to China.
Russia also plans to build the Siberia Gas Pipeline 2 from 2024 to supply Beijing through Mongolia, another sign that Russia’s energy strategy has already taken a turn east.