And the Band Played On

Mere days after an international arrest warrant was issued for President Putin for war crimes in Ukraine, Chinese President Xi Jinping walked the red carpet in Moscow, being greeted by military bands and saluting soldiers. Russia’s deputy prime minister for tourism, sport, culture, and communications, Dmitri N. Chernyshenko, was there to greet the incoming dignitary.

President Xi is on a three-day trip to highlight the warming relations between the two rogue nations. Bejing is calling Xi’s visit “a trip for peace,” but observers in most of the rest of the world are disheartened at the thought of tightening Sino-Russian relations. The visit will undoubtedly be watched closely by those in Kyiv and her Allies. It is the first time the Chinese leader has been to Russia since the beginning of the war.

The two world leaders stand in front of their respective flags in this file photo. Screenshot from YouTube and CNN.

Shortly after arrival, President Xi gave an interview with Russia’s state-run news agency, TASS. He stated, “I am very glad, at the invitation of President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, to come back to the land of our close neighbor on a state visit.” Xi added, “China and Russia are good neighbors and reliable partners connected by mountains and rivers.”

The Chinese government has attempted to spin Xi’s visit as his magnanimous gesture to attempt to bring peace to a warring Russia. Ukrainian officials and western allies are not buying this and see closening relations between the two world powers as likely fanning the flames of war as the prospect of China sending weapons for the Russians to use against Ukraine seems increasingly possible.

Sky News discusses Xi’s meeting with Putin and the possible ramifications. Video courtesy of YouTube and SkyNews.

Weapons on the Way?

According to Politico, US officials have gathered intelligence indicating that China may be considering providing Russia with weapons to aid in its war effort in Ukraine. The Biden administration is considering making these documents available for public viewing. So we will be sure to keep an eye out for that. If China were to provide weapons to Russia, it could lead to an escalation in the conflict leading to ever-increasing numbers of dead and wounded on both sides.

The American government has reportedly been working behind the scenes to convince the global community to put pressure on Bejing, reminding them an influx of Chinese make weapons would be akin to throwing gasoline on a fire. However, several international security experts say they are not sure China is willing to supply the Kremlin with weapons. Regarding the thought of Chinese weaponry provided to Russia, Brian Hart from the Center for Strategic and International Studies to NatSec Daily, “That would also mean, though, that they’re willing to risk the fallout in Europe as well. I don’t think that we’re quite there yet.”