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Putin says open to dialogue on Ukraine crisis


Regarding China's efforts towards the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed positive views on China's position.

In a written interview with Xinhua on the eve of his two-day state visit to China, which starts on Thursday, he said that China clearly understands the roots of the Ukraine crisis and its global geopolitical impact, as reflected in the "China's Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis," a 12-point proposition issued by China in February 2023. The concepts and suggestions indicated in the document demonstrate the sincere desire of China to stabilize the situation, he added.

Putin emphasized that the four principles for the peaceful resolution of the Ukraine crisis recently proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping seamlessly fit in the above-mentioned document.

"The steps build on the idea that we need to forego the 'Cold War mentality' and ensure indivisible security and respect for international law and the UN Charter in their entirety and interrelation," he said.

"We have never refused to negotiate," Putin said. "We are seeking a comprehensive, sustainable and just settlement of this conflict through peaceful means. We are open to a dialogue on Ukraine, but such negotiations must take into account the interests of all countries involved in the conflict, including ours."  

On bilateral relations

Russia and China are promoting the prosperity of both nations through expanded equal and mutually beneficial cooperation in economic and cultural fields, Putin said.

Referring to the practical cooperation in trade and economic fields, Putin noted that the rapid development of Russia-China trade relations has been demonstrating strong immunity to external challenges and crises.

In the past five years, trade between the two countries has doubled, he noted, saying that China has been Russia's largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years, and in 2023, Russia ranked the fourth among China's trading partners. More than 90 percent of transactions between companies from the two countries are settled in their national currencies, Putin added.

Putin noted the two sides are systematically and consistently developing strategic cooperation in the energy sector, working on new large-scale energy projects.

Supplies of Russian agricultural produce to the Chinese market are showing positive dynamics, initiatives in investment and production are being implemented, and transportation and logistics corridors between the two countries are operating smoothly and growing, he said.

"I believe that Russian-Chinese economic ties have great prospects," Putin said.

"We will try to establish closer cooperation in industry and high-tech, outer space and peaceful atom, artificial intelligence, renewable energy and other innovative sectors. We will keep working to provide favorable legal and organizational conditions for that and develop transport and financial infrastructure," he said. 

On Chinese culture

The years 2024 and 2025 are designated as the Years of Culture between Russia and China.

Today, Putin said, there is high interest in Chinese culture and arts within Russian society.

Putin noted that approximately 90,000 Russian students at various educational levels are learning Chinese, and tours and exhibitions involving Chinese artists have been highly successful. The number of tourists between the two countries continues to surge, with over 730,000 Russian citizens visiting China last year, he added.

"I know that people in China are also keen to get acquainted with Russian literature, art and traditions. Our eminent theater groups and musicians regularly perform in China, museums organize their exhibitions, and Russian films are run in cinemas. We are most willing to introduce our Chinese friends to historical, artistic and cultural heritage of multi-ethnic Russia in all its diversity," Putin said.

The Russian president also shared his personal appreciation for Chinese culture. "I am always eager to discover China's unique and authentic traditions, especially during my visits to China. I know quite a bit about your martial arts, including Wushu, which is very popular in our country. I also have respect for Chinese philosophy. My family members are also interested in China, and some of them are learning Chinese."

(With input from Xinhua)

(Cover: Russian President Vladimir Putin. /Reuters)

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