Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin who is facing pressure over his war in Ukraine has sought China's support to handle the situation. He hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow on Monday as expecting to emphasise China's plan to act as a peacemaker over the conflict.
Xi will be the first national leader to shake Putin's hand since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for him on Friday over the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia since its invasion.
Moscow said the charge was among a number of "clearly hostile displays" and Beijing said it reflects double standards.
Russia is presenting Xi's trip, his first since securing an unprecedented third term this month, as evidence that it has a powerful friend prepared to stand with it against a hostile West that it accuses of trying to isolate and defeat Moscow.
"We can feel the geopolitical landscape in the outside world undergoing drastic changes," Putin said in an article in China's People's Daily published on the Kremlin website, adding that he had high hopes for the visit from his "good old friend".
For Xi, the visit is a diplomatic tightrope.China has released a 12-point proposal to solve the Ukraine crisis, but at the same time strengthened ties with Moscow. China has repeatedly dismissed Western accusations that it is planning to arm Russia but says it wants a closer energy partnership after boosting imports of Russian coal, gas and oil following Putin's all-out invasion of Ukraine. Western sanctions on Russian energy mean Beijing has saved billions of dollars.
Xi arrived in Moscow on Monday afternoon and was due to hold "informal" talks with Putin, followed by dinner.Formal talks are scheduled for Tuesday.