Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu praised the military cooperation between their countries amid tensions with the West over the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

During a meeting with Shangfu in Moscow on Sunday, Putin touted his country’s defense cooperation with China and said joint military exercises, including ground, naval and air force drills, were held in Europe and the Far East, Reuters reported. . Shangfu’s visit comes a month after Chinese President Xi Jinping met the Russian leader in Moscow in an effort to affirm their “limitless” partnership as they strengthen their economic, political and defense cooperation.

“I think it’s another important area, which strengthens the trust-based strategic character of our relations, Russia-China relations,” Putin said of their defense cooperation on Sunday, according to the Russian news agency TASS. He also added that the Chinese defense minister “has quite a rich work program” in Russia.

“We are actively working through our military departments, regularly exchanging useful information, working together in the field of military-technical cooperation and holding joint exercises,” Putin also said, according to Reuters.

Putin and China tout their military cooperation amid tensions with the West
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk into a room during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21. Putin and Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu praised the military cooperation between their countries amid tensions with the West over the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. .
Photo by ALEXEY MAISHEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

Shangfu will meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu from Sunday to Tuesday to discuss “the current status and prospects for the development of bilateral defense cooperation, as well as current global and regional security issues.” “, according to TASS.

Meanwhile, the United States has been keeping an eye on recent Sino-Russian cooperation, warning Beijing not to provide weapons or military aid to Russian troops in war-torn Ukraine.

In February, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States had information that China was “seriously considering providing lethal assistance to Russia.”

“As far as we know, they haven’t crossed that line yet,” he told NBC’s Chuck Todd. Meet the press. Additionally, CIA Director William Burns said on CBS News’ Take on the Nation in February that the United States “is confident that the Chinese leadership is considering the provision of lethal equipment.”

Those remarks infuriated Chinese officials, with Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, saying that same month that “it is the United States, not China, that is continually sending weapons onto the battlefield.” Wang also accused the United States of “shifting the blame and spreading disinformation.”

“The United States has no right to order China around, and we have never accepted the United States pointing fingers at China-Russia relations, let alone pressure or coercion,” Wang added. “Who calls for peace talks? And who is fanning the fire and fomenting confrontation? The international community can see for itself.”

Since the very early start of the war in Ukraine, which started last February, China has taken a position that it would not arm Moscow as it tries to avoid being part of the conflict, and the US has repeatedly warned not to walk away. from that position.

Western nations, including NATO members, have been supplying Ukraine with advanced military equipment, tanks and artillery, as well as humanitarian aid to help the Eastern European country defeat Russian troops in fighting that spanned the major Ukrainian cities, including Kiev, Odessa, Kherson. , and most recently intensified in Bakhmut, which is located in the Donetsk region.

news week He contacted the Russian and Chinese foreign ministries by email.

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