Russia-Ukraine: Two years of war
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Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a joint statement with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Reuters

​China’s delicate dance on Ukraine

Over 18 months of war, President Xi Jinping’s pledge of “friendship without limits” with Russia has repeatedly been tested. China blames the West for Russia’s invasion and continues to buy Russia’s oil at discount prices, but it has also refused to endorse Russian claims on Ukrainian land and offers itself as a neutral player that wants peace.

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Annie Gugliotta

China's Ukraine gambit

Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine almost a year ago, China has strived to keep a low profile in the war by remaining officially neutral yet refusing to condemn Russian aggression. But over the past few days, top US and European officials say they see signs that China plans to intervene by supplying lethal aid — weapons and ammo — directly to the Kremlin.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin walks to deliver his annual address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow.

Reuters

What We’re Watching: Putin blames the West, China in Ukraine war, Sunak close to Northern Ireland deal

Putin blames the West … for everything

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin played all the greatest hits Tuesday when he took to the podium for a State of the Union address to Russian legislators and the military just days out from the one-year anniversary of the Ukraine war. In his typically defiant fashion, Putin said that the West “started the war” and warned that Moscow would not back down from its objectives in Ukraine, emphasizing Russian unity on the issue. He also revived the (debunked) justification that the war was crucial to “protect Russia and liquidate the neo-Nazi threat” from Kyiv. Crucially, Putin implied that Russia would break with the New START treaty, which limits Moscow and Washington to deploying 1,550 nuclear weapons a piece, though Russia has reportedly already exceeded that number. Suspending the treaty would also block the US from monitoring compliance. This comes just hours before US President Joe Biden will deliver a speech in Warsaw, where he is expected to again frame the war in Ukraine as a fight for democracy itself.

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The Graphic Truth: China-Russia trade ties

Relations between Russia and China are complicated. While Beijing and Moscow have become chummy in recent decades, the relationship reached a low point during the Cold War after Mao Zedong severed ties with the Soviet Union. The intervening years have seen increased interaction between the two economies. Trade turnover reached a record $147 billion in 2021. Still, Russia is far more reliant on revenue from exports to China, the world’s second-largest economy, than Beijing is on Moscow. We look at China-Russia trade relations since 2000.

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