Putin and Xi show united front amid rising tensions with the United States

MOSCOW – President Biden may have his alliance of democracies, but Russia and China still have each other.

Xi Jinping addressed Vladimir V. Putin as his “old friend”, and the Russian president called his Chinese counterpart both his “dear friend” and his “honored friend” when the two leaders held a video summit on Wednesday – a show of solidarity in the face of Western pressure over Ukraine, Taiwan and many other conditions.

In footage of opening remarks made by the Kremlin, Mr Putin said he would attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics in February, making him the first leader of another country to confirm he would attend the event, which Mr The bite has already promised. to boycott, as do the leaders of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and others.

Sir. Xi, who noted that he met Mr Putin for the 37th time since 2013, praised the Russian president for thwarting attempts to “drive a wedge in between our countries.” He said the two countries “defended the true meaning of democracy and human rights,” according to the Russian translation of their remarks, when the virtual summit began.

This message seemed to contrast Summit for Democracy which Mr Biden hosted last week, which was widely seen as an attempt to build a common front against Russia and China.

The two countries that were once opponents have formed an increasingly tight economic, military and geopolitical partnership under Mr Putin and Mr Xi – one that increasingly resembles a bloc against American influence as both countries’ confrontations with the US become deeper.

The talks came at a moment of high effort. Mr. Putin is threatening an invasion of neighboring Ukraine with alarming military deployments near the border, Western officials say, as well as demanding new legal guarantees from the West that will establish a Russian sphere of influence in Eastern Europe.

Xi is facing Western calls for a diplomatic boycott of the February Olympics as well as pressure over China’s actions in the western region of Xinjiang, where hundreds of thousands of Uighurs and other Muslims have been detained and re-educated.

“I expect that in February next year we will finally meet in person in Beijing,” Mr Putin told Mr Xi. “We have relentlessly supported each other on issues of international athletic cooperation, including in not accepting attempts to politicize sports or the Olympic movement.”

Anton Troianovski reported from Moscow, and Steven Lee Myers from Seoul. Claire Fu, John Liu and Khava Khasmagomadova contributed research.

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