Putin Meets With Xi Jinping As Tensions Rise With US Over Ukraine

(Anthony Wallace, Getty Images/Matthew Stockman, Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent
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Russian President Vladimir Putin met in-person Friday with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping as tensions grow between Russia and the West over the former’s aggression toward Ukraine.

Neither country mentioned the Ukrainian conflict specifically in a joint statement, but they stood together in opposition to expanding NATO. Shortly before the meeting, the United States warned China against helping Russia avoid sanctions over Ukraine.

The meeting, which took place as the Winter Olympics kicked off in Beijing, marks the first time Xi has met a foreign leader in-person in nearly two years. The last time Putin visited Beijing during the Olympic games, in summer 2008, Russia invaded Georgia.

China and Russia referred to each other as “world powers” in their joint statement and expressed opposition to a number of U.S. priorities, including the trilateral partnership between Washington, the United Kingdom and Australia. The two leaders also called out “actors representing but the minority on the international scale” who advocate “unilateral approaches to addressing international issues.”

The U.S. has sought to facilitate international cooperation in solving the Ukraine crisis diplomatically, including at the United Nations Security Council. But China has repeatedly stood by Russia, including by voting at the Security Council against further discussion of the Ukraine crisis at a meeting last week. China was the only country to join Russia in voting no.(RELATED: State Department Spokesman Ned Price Gets Into Shouting Match With Reporter, Accuses Him Of Believing Russia Over US)

Putin is now slated to meet French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Feb. 15. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met Thursday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who offered to mediate peace talks between Kyiv and Moscow.