Delivering remarks on a wide range of issues during the Russian president’s annual year-end press conference where he holds a long Q&A session with the press and public, Putin named Russia’s number one partner on the global stage.
While a decade ago his answer would have perhaps come as a shock given the two countries’ tense history and rivalry, particularly through the 20th century – it should come as no surprise now, after both find themselves firmly in Washington’s geopolitical and economic crosshairs… China, Putin named as an unprecedented partner of close cooperation from trade to technology to defense.
Russia is “China’s number one partner,” the Russian president asserted, describing to the press conference that President Xi Jinping and he “have very trusting relations and it helps us build good business ties as well.” Putin stressed that Xi “is an obvious leader” and that recent meetings and cooperative endeavors “brings us closer together.”
Here’s more according to an official English translation of Putin’s remarks featured in Russian state media reports:
“We are cooperating in the field of security. The Chinese Army is equipped to a significant extent with the world’s most advanced weapons systems. We are even developing certain high-tech weapons together,” the Russian leader went on.
He said that there has been nothing like Russia and China’s current relations in history before, and remarked that this serves as a “stabilizing factor” on the world stage.
Xi and Putin met last week in a virtual conference, which came on the heels of Putin meeting with Biden for a much more tense, though generally positive exchange.
During this latest Xi-Putin summit, the Russian leader hailed his friendship with Xi as something closer than allies. Xi had also been cited in Chinese state media describing that the Russian president had “firmly supported China in defending its core interests and opposed attempts to divide China and Russia,” according to CCTV.
Russian President Putin had a marathon 4 hr long year ending annual presser; No mention of India (nor any questions). Lot of focus on Ukraine, China. Called ties with Xi Jinping “very trustful personal relationship” https://t.co/J4qtJVWp4e
— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) December 23, 2021
Importantly, following that meeting Xi had declared formal support for this central security concern of Russia’s:
Putin won support from Xi for his push to obtain binding security guarantees for Russia from the West, a Kremlin official said, according to Reuters.
Russia wants the United States and NATO to guarantee the military alliance will not expand further eastward or deploy weapons systems in Ukraine and other countries on Russia’s border.
Putin during his Thursday year-end conference addressed the emerging Ukraine crisis 2.0, after last month Washington and Kiev accused the Kremlin of a major military build-up threatening Ukraine…
“We are not the ones who are threatening someone,” Putin began. “Are we the ones who went there, to the US borders, or to the borders of the United Kingdom or somewhere? They came to us, and now they still say: no, now Ukraine will join NATO as well.”
Xi has affirmed he stands by Russia’s firm stance on countering NATO expansion eastward…
Xi Jinping backs Vladimir Putin’s demand for Nato to halt eastwards expansion https://t.co/ANBzBWmk3i
— David Reynolds (@SurferObserver) December 15, 2021
Days ago the Kremlin sought to initiate urgent dialogue with the West by submitting a draft document of “security guarantees” – centered on the central demand of no more NATO expansion eastward. Reports this week suggest that Russia and the US have agreed to meet over the matter in January.