Putin accepts invitation to visit China in October after meeting Chinese foreign minister in Moscow

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he accepted an invitation from his Chinese counterpart to visit China in October during the Belt and Road Summit.

Speaking after a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Moscow, Putin said Russia and China are “integrating our ideas of creating a large Eurasian space,” noting that China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a part of that.

The Initiative is a huge program in which Beijing has been expanding its influence in developing regions through infrastructure projects.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Putin has pivoted the country toward China, selling it more energy, and increasingly carrying out joint military exercises.

China has adopted a neutral stance on the war in Ukraine and even denounced Western sanctions against Moscow. It also accused NATO and the United States of provoking Putin’s military action and declared last year that it had a “no-limits” friendship with Russia.

On Tuesday, senior Russian security official, Nikolai Patrushev, called for closer policy coordination between Moscow and Beijing to counter what he described as Western efforts to contain them as he hosted Wang Yi for security talks.

The Kremlin has continuously expressed support for Beijing as Russia and China have grown closer as their relations with the West deteriorate.

Wang arrived in Russia on Monday on a four-day visit following his talks with U.S. President Joe Biden’s national security adviser in Malta over the weekend.

Putin’s plan to visit China was initially announced in July.

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