Russia says Xi backs Putin in push for Western security guarantees

Mr Vladimir Putin holds talks with Mr Xi Jinping via a video link at his residence outside Moscow on Dec 15, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Russian President Vladimir Putin won support from Chinese President Xi Jinping in a video call on Wednesday (Dec 15) for his push to obtain binding security guarantees for Russia from the West, a Kremlin official said.

Mr Xi told Mr Putin he understood Russia's concerns and supported the Russian initiative, after Mr Putin briefed him on his recent video call with US President Joe Biden, Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told a briefing.

Mr Ushakov said the two leaders also expressed their "negative view" of the creation of new military alliances such as the AUKUS partnership between Australia, Britain and the United States.

The call highlighted the ways in which Russia and China are drawing on each other for mutual support at a time of high tension for both countries in their relations with the West.

With China under pressure over human rights and Russia accused of threatening behaviour towards Ukraine, the two giant neighbours are united in their rejection of what they see as Western meddling.

"A new model of cooperation has been formed between our countries, based, among other things, on such principles as non-interference in internal affairs and respect for each other's interests," Mr Putin told Mr Xi at the start of their call.

He said Moscow and Beijing were coordinating their actions and taking a responsible joint approach to solving international problems.

"We are contributing to the formation of a just world order based on international law," Mr Putin said.

Mr Putin's spokesman said on Tuesday that Mr Putin wanted to discuss with Mr Xi the "very tense" international situation, especially in Europe, where Moscow had been subjected to "very, very aggressive rhetoric" from the US and NATO.

Russia wants the US and NATO to guarantee that the Western military alliance will not expand further eastwards or deploy certain weapons systems in Ukraine and other countries that border Russia.

Mr Ushakov said Russia had formally handed its proposals to the US on Wednesday.

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