After the meeting held yesterday between the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, it has not been clear if the plan presented by Beijing is to the liking of the Kremlin. It might seem so, though not in the trickier spots, such as those contemplating the full return of the occupied territories to Ukraine, including Crimea. It might seem not because, according to President Putin, the West would not accept it. And in the midst of doubts, the mediator, a Xi Jinping who was reluctant to return home without a Russian commitment. “We are firmly guided by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, we adhere to an objective and impartial position, actively willing to promote reconciliation and resume negotiations. We are always in favor of peace and dialogue, we are firmly on the right side of history,” Xi said, defending that twelve-point plan that has taken months of work.
In any case, in Moscow they value it as a not inconsiderable starting point for the future, in which both parties no longer see so much sense in losing so many human lives in a war that few understand. The Russian president stated this at the joint press conference considering “that many of the provisions of the peace plan presented by China are in line with the Russian position and can be taken as the basis for a peaceful agreement when they are ready for it in the West and in Kyiv. However, so far we have not observed such willingness on their part.” It seems, according to what was expressed by his official spokesperson, Dmitri Peskov, in a public television program that the evaluation of said peace plan would have already been made in the Kremlin offices. For Putin’s representative “Washington, the European capitals, but first of all, Washington is full of the desire not to allow, under any pretext, to enter into peace negotiations. They simply do not allow Kyiv to even think (about it)”, he said when asked in an interview hours before the meeting when it was learned that from Washington they did not see with enthusiasm the arrival of peace after the plan devised by Beijing.
With these immovable positions, it is clear that the parties have decided that the war must continue, and the “Special Operation” continues its course, about to complete its first 13 months of death. President Putin’s discomfort at what he considers “interference” by other countries is evident and he stated this when he was asked about the delivery of depleted uranium ammunition by the United Kingdom to the Kyiv government, stating that “The West has decided to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian, not with words, but with deeds.”
Apart from the war, the leaders dealt with issues of importance to strengthening their economic ties such as laying the foundations for forming a large Eurasian partnership in the future or energy cooperation, including an increase in the Russian oil supply to China. Also the possibility of increasing exports of meat and cereals from Russia to China and continuing to encourage exchanges in technological matters. Perhaps one of the most important moments of the meeting was the Russian proposal to use the Chinese yuan as a currency in future economic agreements between the Russian Federation and the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Since the first sanctions imposed on Russia in 2014, after the annexation of the Crimean peninsula, the Kremlin has tried to disassociate itself from the US dollar for its international transactionsassessing at first the use of the ruble, something that seems to be ruled out with this measure.
Before concluding the joint appearance, they announced to the journalists gathered there the construction of the gas pipeline “Siberian Power 2”, whose purpose will be to unite the Russian and Chinese energy networks through a third country, Mongolia. The original gas pipeline put into operation, “Siberian Power 1” could reach a total pumping capacity of 38,000 million cubic meters by the year 2027. No one escapes, speaking of numbers, that the sum of the capacity of both pipelines, upon reaching full capacity, could mean half of the gas that the Russian Federation exported to the European Union in 2019. Those were different times, without a doubt. Today Xi Jinping will take advantage of his last day of visit in Moscow before returning to China without being very clear about what he will talk about with the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenski, whom he promised to call when he finished his official visit to Russia.