Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to go to Russia for a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin as early as next week, Reuters reported on March 13, citing people familiar with the matter.
In late February, the Wall Street Journal wrote that Xi's visit to Moscow could happen in April or early May.
Xi's meeting with Putin will be a part of a push for multilateral peace negotiations as Beijing claims it wants to play a more active role in ending the war against Ukraine, the WSJ sources said.
On Feb. 24, China's Foreign Ministry released a 12-point statement that detailed Beijing's stance on achieving a "political settlement" to resolve Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine. The "peace plan" was criticized by U.S. President Joe Biden, who claimed that it would likely only work in Russia's favor, and other top Western officials.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Feb. 24, as quoted by Ukrainska Pravda, that he did not consider China's proposal a peace plan, adding that the document included respect for international law, which already made it possible to work with China.
Zelensky also said he wanted to meet with China's Xi, which would "benefit our states and security in the world."
On Feb. 22, China's top diplomat Wang Yi met with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow shortly after Biden's surprise trip to Kyiv. One of the Reuters sources said that Wang's visit had served to help prepare Xi's trip to Russia.
Multiple U.S. officials have publicly stated over the past month that China was considering providing lethal aid to Russia. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi that doing so "would have serious consequences in our relationship."
Reuters reported on March 2, citing four unnamed U.S. officials and other sources, that Washington was reaching out to close allies about the possibility of coordinating sanctions against China makes such a decision.