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Before discussions on Ukraine, Xi and Putin laud each other

The Chinese president Xi Jinping's state visit to Russia, which starts on Monday, is the centre of attention. The presidents of the two countries will speak about advancing their political and economic cooperation as well as the conflict in Ukraine during their three-day visit.

Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping complimented their nations' burgeoning partnership in pieces published in Russian and Chinese media before to the visit.

In the partnership with China, Russia is viewed as the junior partner. Given that the West threatened to impose sanctions on China if it assisted Russia militarily, it is unclear how far Beijing's alliance with Moscow might develop.

In other events, this weekend, Putin surprised everyone by travelling to the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia acquired nine years ago, as well as the city of Mariupol, which is under Russian occupation. One official said that Putin's visit to Mariupol's "ruins" was a sign of his lack of regret for Russia's shelling of the city earlier in the conflict, which infuriated Kyiv.

Relations have improved significantly over the past ten years, according to Xi, and "both nations... see our partnership as a top priority in our diplomacy." Putin declared that he regards Xi as a "good old buddy" with whom he has "the best connections."

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