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Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin prepare for a group photo with other leaders at the Third Belt and Road Forum on Oct. 18, 2023 in Beijing, China. (Suo Takekuma/Pool/Getty Images)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed he will visit China in May, the state-run media outlet TASS reported on April 25.

This might be Putin's first trip abroad after he secured his fifth term in office in the March presidential election, broadly regarded as rigged and unfair.

While many Western leaders denounced the vote, Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated the Kremlin leader, promising to "maintain close communication" between the two countries.

Beijing has fostered close ties with Moscow during its full-scale war against Ukraine, increasing economic cooperation and disrupting Western attempts at isolating Russia. China has also weighed in on possible peace negotiations, saying talks must include Moscow.

Speaking on April 25 at the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs congress in Moscow, Putin did not give an exact date for his visit nor any further details of the trip.

"I am planning a visit in May," he said.

On March 19, Reuters reported that Putin would likely visit China in the second half of May.

Sources told the news agency that the Russian leader's trip will precede Xi's planned visit to Europe.

The Russian president previously visited China last October to attend the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.

China officially declares itself a neutral party to Russia's full-scale war in Ukraine, but Washington has continued to sound the alarm on Beijing's support of Moscow's defense industry.

Beijing previously reacted to the criticism of its partnership with Moscow, claiming that both countries have a right to carry out "normal cooperation."

Chinese officials separately met with US, Russian counterparts at Western Pacific Naval Symposium
Senior Chinese military officials separately met U.S. and Russian naval counterparts at the Western Pacific Naval Symposium in Qingdao, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian said during a press briefing on April 25.
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