China moved to support Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday – praising his “strategic directives” and calling for stability – but not until the dust has settled over a short-lived rebellion challenging his rule.
Beijing sat silent all day Saturday as the Wagner group of mercenaries seized the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and moved to storm Moscow with demands for a change of military leadership from Putin. Meanwhile, Western governments were issuing anxious statements confirming that they were monitoring the rapidly developing situation in Russia.
It wasn’t until the Russian leader reached an agreement late Saturday with Wagner commander Yevgeny Prigozhin and ended the military mutiny that Beijing spoke of.
“This is a matter of Russia’s internal affairs,” the foreign ministry in Beijing said in a statement on Sunday. “China supports Russia in safeguarding national stability and achieving development and prosperity.”
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko hosts Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaozhou in Beijing on Sunday He was more positive about the Russian leader. “Under the strategic guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin, Sino-Russian political trust has continued to deepen,” Ma said.
However, Beijing announced that Beijing wanted Moscow to keep China informed as soon as possible in the future. According to the ministry, Ma told Rudenko “timely communication and mutual verification” in the face of “complicated and difficult international atmospheres.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Rudenko’s visit to Beijing was a follow-up to Xi’s visit to Russia in March, with the aim of consolidating and expanding bilateral relations.
“The Chinese side expressed its support for the efforts of the Russian leadership to stabilize the situation in the country in connection with the events of June 24 and affirmed its interest in Russia’s strengthened unity and continued prosperity,” the Russian ministry said in a statement. statement.
Xi has repeatedly supported Putin during the course of the war that began last year, and has kept Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky waiting for more than a year before making direct contact. China has kept the flow of trade open with Russia, which has the bulk of its economy under Western sanctions, but the two countries have not amounted to a military alliance.
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