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Bloomberg: Putin to visit China in first trip abroad since his arrest warrant

by Martin Fornusek August 29, 2023 6:12 PM 2 min read
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands in Moscow in March, 2023. (Photo by Contributor/Getty Images)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to visit China as his first international trip since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against him over war crimes in Ukraine, Bloomberg reported on Aug. 29, citing three undisclosed sources.

The Kremlin's leader has reportedly accepted the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping to attend the Belt and Road Forum in October, the outlet said.

Putin has avoided international trips since the ICC issued arrest warrants against him and Russian official Maria Lvova-Belova for their role in the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia. The only exemption was the Russian leader's reported visit to the occupied parts of Ukraine.

Earlier in August, he did not attend in person the BRICS summit hosted by South Africa, a country that is a signatory to the ICC's Rome Statute and therefore legally obliged to detain the Russian president.

Putin also refused to attend the Group of 20 summit held in India, and instead of his allegedly planned trip to Turkey, his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to come to Russia's Sochi in the near future. Notably, neither Turkey nor India are parties to the ICC.

According to sources cited by Bloomberg, the Russian leader is willing to visit only those countries where his security service can completely guarantee his safety. Russia's close ally China, who is also not a party to the Rome Statute, is one of such places, Bloomberg's sources said.

This would be Putin's first trip to China since February 2022, when he met Xi to proclaim "friendship without limits" between Moscow and Beijing, just weeks before Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The two countries closely cooperate in their efforts to challenge the U.S. geopolitical dominance. While China has publicly positioned itself as a neutral party to the Russo-Ukrainian War and urged a peaceful solution, Beijing has backed Moscow against the West's effort to isolate Russia on the international stage.

The Chinese government publicly denied that it had provided military aid to the Kremlin, however, a U.S. intelligence report from July 27 suggested that China has in fact exported significant amounts of dual-use technologies that Moscow deploys for military purposes in Ukraine.

Explainer: China’s increasing role in Russia’s war against Ukraine
Just days before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last February, China’s leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a “friendship without limits,” agreeing there would be no “forbidden areas of cooperation.” Unsurprisingly then, Beijing did not condemn Russia’s all-out w…
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