China-Russia Leaders Meet Amid Battlefield Losses In Ukraine
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
MOSCOW/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – A day after allegations that he survived an assassination attempt, Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Chinese counterpart to shore up support for his increasingly challenging invasion of Ukraine.
Putin thanked the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, for his “balanced” approach to the Ukraine crisis and blasted Washington’s “ugly” policies.
Their meeting followed concerns in China over major setbacks for Putin on the battlefield in Ukraine and closer to home, where he faces death threats amid pressure to resign.
The anti-Kremlin General GVR Telegram channel, citing “an insider” within his staff, said Wednesday that Putin escaped assassination when his motorcade was attacked while traveling to his official residence.
The alleged attempt on his life happened shortly after a group of politicians in Russia demanded Putin’s resignation citing Russia’s military losses in Ukraine. A loud bang reportedly hit Putin’s limousine’s left front wheel, and the car was immediately driven to safety even as smoke erupted.
He was said to have been in the third of five armored cars employed as decoys. The first escort car was allegedly halted by an ambulance on the way to Putin’s residence while other vehicles tried to escape.
“Subsequently, the body of a man was found driving the ambulance, which blocked the first car from the motorcade,” said SVR General.
Worthy News couldn’t verify the widely quoted reports independently, and some security analysts and commentators urged caution.
However, several Putin allies have died this year. In August 2022, Daria Dugina, a Russian propagandist in favor of the invasion of Ukraine, was killed in a car bomb.
Vladimir Sungorkin, editor in chief of a pro-Kremlin tabloid, died from an alleged stroke in the eastern part of Russia. The Kremlin confirmed the death in mid-September 2022.
Putin has publicly said that he survived at least a handful of attempts on his life. Multiple arrests were reportedly made by Putin’s security forces as some of his bodyguards allegedly went missing amid concerns that confidential information about the 69-year-old leader’s activities was leaked.
The Kremlin has not confirmed the latest reported assassination attempt, and Putin did not publicly address the threat as he met Xi.
At the start of talks with Xi in Uzbekistan, Putin said he was ready to discuss unspecified “concerns” by China about Ukraine.
“We highly appreciate the well-balanced position of our Chinese friends in connection with the Ukrainian crisis,” Putin said, facing Xi across a long table.
“We understand your questions and your concerns in this regard. And we certainly will offer a detailed explanation of our stand on this issue during today’s meeting, even though we already talked about it earlier,” he added.
Putin’s rare mention of Chinese worries comes as Beijing appears anxious about the impact of volatile oil prices and economic uncertainty due to the war in Ukraine dragging on for nearly seven months.
The two met on the sidelines of the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization that includes India, Pakistan, and four ex-Soviet nations in Central Asia. Their security alliance was created as a counterweight to U.S. influence.
The last time Xi and Putin sat down face to face; they triumphantly trumpeted the arrival of “a new era in international relations.”
Amid a Western diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics and a looming crisis in Ukraine, the world’s two most powerful autocrats shared their vision for new world order: it would better accommodate their nations’ interests and no longer be dominated by the West.
In a 5,000-word joint statement, the two leaders declared a friendship with “no limits” and spelled out their shared grievances toward the United States and its allies.
“The world is going through momentous changes,” their joint statement said, noting the “transformation of the global governance architecture and world order.”
But the war isn’t going according to (Russia’s) plan, with Kyiv now claiming it has recaptured 8,000 square kilometers (3,100 square miles) of territory in the east and south of the country.
Tens of thousands of Russian soldiers are believed to have died, and this month several Russian politicians dared to ask for Putin’s resignation.
That has contributed to caution in Beijing as it ponders its next geopolitical move.
A Chinese government statement issued after the meeting didn’t specifically mention Ukraine but said Xi promised “strong support” to Russia’s “core interests.”
While the statement gave no details, Beijing uses “core interests” to describe issues such as national sovereignty and the ruling Communist Party’s claim to Taiwan, over which it is willing to go to war, observers said.
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