Putin and Xi prepare for the second day of talks in Moscow, as the Japanese prime minister heads to Ukraine
Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping were set to hold a second day of talks on Tuesday, after the internationally isolated Russian leader said he was open to discussing China's proposals on fighting in Ukraine and the US urged Xi to pressure him to "stop the war", reports The Guardian .
Xi's trip to Moscow is seen as a major boost for his strategic partner Putin, who is the subject of an international criminal court warrant over allegations of illegal deportation of Ukrainian children. The Chinese leader is expected to continue to position himself as a potential peacemaker in the Ukraine conflict during his two-day visit to Russia - his first state visit since the invasion.
On Monday, Xi and Putin held four and a half hours of talks, calling each other a "dear friend". The talks were accompanied by a six-course meal that included quail and mushroom blini, fish and pomegranate sorbet, according to a menu released by a state media reporter. In a rare move, Putin accompanied Xi in his car after the talks and the two were seen smiling together.
On Monday night, White House spokesman John Kirby said Xi should use his influence to pressure Putin to withdraw troops from Ukraine and "stop war crimes". A ceasefire - which was a key part of China's peace proposal released last month - would not be enough, he said.
“We hope that President Xi will pressure President Putin to stop the bombing of Ukrainian cities, hospitals and schools; to stop war crimes and atrocities; and withdraw all his troops", he said.
"But we are concerned that, instead, China will repeat calls for a ceasefire that leaves Russian forces inside Ukraine's sovereign territory. And any ceasefire that does not address the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine would effectively ratify Russia's illegal occupations, enabling Russia to strengthen its positions and then resume the war at a time more favorable to them.