Xi Jinping’s undeclared alliance with Vladimir Putin seems to have landed China in a foreign policy quagmire. In February 2022, just weeks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Chinese and Russian leaders issued a joint statement outlining a strategic partnership "without limits" — a statement that observers interpreted as a tacit endorsement of Putin’s war. However, neither leader anticipated the strength of the Ukrainian resistance to the Russian forces, dashing hopes in both Moscow and Beijing of a swift end to the war. As Putin’s campaign against Ukraine has proved more difficult than expected, Xi has been forced to recalculate China’s position, attempting to extricate himself from the mess by making some strategic adjustments.
The war in Ukraine has become a problem for Putin and raises a number of questions: How has Putin’s problem become Xi’s, too? How has Xi tried to manage China’s role in the Russo-Ukrainian war over past 18 months? Why has Xi maintained his initial stance on the war, implicitly allying China with Russia? And what is the logic behind China’s entrenched position and the adjustments that Xi has made with respect to Ukraine?
To address these questions, this paper reviews the trajectory of China’s policy on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, analyzing Xi’s calculations, miscalculations, and recalculations. The analysis emphasizes both the consistencies and the inconsistencies in China’s Ukraine policy, examining the motivations behind Beijing’s mixed signals to the international community and highlighting the rationale underlying China’s fluctuating Ukraine stance.
I argue that Xi has made a series of miscalculations in crafting China’s "grand strategy" for dealing with the West, which, in turn, have informed his stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Those miscalculations have undermined China’s regime security as the war has unfolded. This dynamic has created both consistencies and inconsistencies in China’s policy on the Ukraine war, but the fundamental rationale behind China’s stance has not changed, which is rooted in Xi’s prioritization of regime security and challenging the Western-led liberal-democratic international order.
The development of China’s Ukraine policy can be divided into three phases. The first phase, from the beginning of the war in February 2022 until roughly the late spring of 2022, was marked by China’s declaration of a "friendship without limits" with Russia — a crucial part of Xi’s global grand strategy, rooted in his belief that the West is declining while the East is rising. The second, more prolonged phase followed the military stagnation of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which forced Xi to recalculate the security of his regime and make some policy adjustments; the outcome of this phase was a proposal for peace talks mediated by China. The third phase, which began in the summer of 2023, has seen China reaffirming its alliance with Russia. This phase reflects Xi’s recalculation after the failure of his "two-hands" strategy, which aimed to placate the West while still supporting Russia. China’s new strategy on the Russo-Ukrainian war emphasizes a war of attrition to undermine the West in the long term. This policy arc applies not only to China’s stance on the Russo-Ukrainian war, but also to the broader rationale for its international conduct.
Phase I: China's Grand Strategy, a Dangerous Miscalculation
The role of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Russia’s Ukraine war has been clear since the beginning of the military action. Putin ordered his army to invade Ukraine shortly after his visit to Beijing during the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, which pushed the relationship between the two authoritarian global powers to new heights. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi predicted such a development in his 2021 new year interview with China’s official news agency, Xinhua: "In developing China-Russia strategic cooperation, we see no limit, no forbidden zone and no ceiling to how far this cooperation can go."1 The "friendship" between China and Russia was envisioned as going beyond a mere military alliance, covering every aspect of relations between the two countries and specifying no limit on its durability. This undeclared Sino-Russian alliance has informed China’s stance on the Russo-Ukrainian war.
Xi Jinping’s determination to establish a relationship with Russia and its czar-like leader is obvious. Official Chinese media at the time did not try to hide the Xi-Putin relationship, and indeed highlighted the personal friendship between them as the driving force behind the Sino-Russian relationship. Jiefangjun Bao (PLA Daily) reported on the eve of the Russian invasion of Ukraine that the "Sino-Russian relationship is in the best shape on record, and it has already become a great power relationship with the highest degree of mutual trust, cooperation and coordination, and strategic value; the key to such a relationship is the strategic leadership of the leaders of the two states."2
The PRC Ministry of National Defense subsequently reposted this article on its official website, featuring a photo of Xi and Putin standing together in Moscow’s Red Square as Russian jet fighters roared across the sky. Meanwhile, the propaganda machine of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) emphasized the partnership’s implications for international relations, using the language of comrades-in-arms on the battlefield, boasting that the two countries stood "shoulder to shoulder and back to back," connected "together in defending international fairness and justice."3
Days later, Russian air force jets flew into Ukrainian territory, marking the beginning of its disastrous invasion on February 24, 2022. The next day, Xi phoned Putin to "exchange opinions concerning the current Ukrainian situation" — implicitly but firmly endorsing Putin’s military adventurism.4
Xi had many reasons to do so, all of which are grounded in his grand strategy inspired by his political concerns and personal ambitions. First, Xi appreciated Putin’s staying power as an apparently unassailable leader in domestic politics. In early 2022, Xi was at a crucial point in his tenure as he sought an unprecedented third term — and hinted at life tenure — at the 20th Party Congress in October of that year.
Second, Xi embraced Putin as a comrade in a geopolitical and ideological struggle against the West. In assessing that "the East is rising, the West declining," Xi viewed the Sino-Russian alliance as the most significant strategic tool for subverting the Western-dominated international order and reshaping it in his and Putin’s favor.
Third, Xi saw that Putin’s military adventure in Ukraine could foreshadow a Chinese invasion of Taiwan — a crucial step for China to realize its regional and even global ambitions. Xi has repeatedly declared his plan to "completely unify the motherland" by making Taiwan a part of the PRC. He regards reunification as a necessary and crucial step toward fulfilling his political ambition of "bringing China back to the center of the world stage" and his personal dream of making himself one of the greatest leaders in Chinese history.5
These fundamental calculations drive Xi’s grand strategy to undermine Western-led democracy, sustain the Chinese Communist regime without significant external threats, and establish an autocratic China as the dominant world power. Xi has repeatedly boasted that the realization of this strategy will usher in "great change not seen in a century," referring to the reshaping of the global order in the widest sense.6 Putin is obviously the best comrade to help Xi carry out this grand strategy, not only because of the two leaders’ similar personal attributes, but also because of the two regimes’ shared anti-West, antidemocratic nature.
Phase II: Regime Security in China's Recalculation
China’s initial policy on the Russian invasion of Ukraine quickly faced a dilemma, mainly because of three developments.
First, the broad spectrum of Ukrainian resistance — from the military and political leadership down to ordinary citizens — imposed huge costs on Russia, destroying Putin’s plan to quickly replace Ukraine’s leadership with a puppet government. As Putin’s hoped-for victory became more and more hopeless, Xi’s ambitions, which hinged on his alliance with Putin, increasingly appeared to be political fantasy. Taiwan, it became clear, would not be any easier prey for China than Ukraine was for Russia. With the most aggressive — if not the first — attack on the Western world order blocked, Xi began to see that his perceptions of the promised "rise of the East," and his corresponding strategic calculations, were unrealistic.
Second, international support for Ukraine far surpassed the expectations of the Xi-Putin alliance. On February 28, 2022, four days after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations General Assembly called its 11th emergency special session devoted to Ukraine. That body subsequently adopted a series of resolutions declaring Russia’s invasion a violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and demanding that Russia stop its offensive and "immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw" all troops from Ukraine.7 All these resolutions passed with an overwhelming majority countries in favor, with world powers and tiny island states alike condemning Moscow.8
Third, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine provoked many countries, especially industrialized ones, to impose comprehensive sanctions on Russia. Within a few days of the start of the war, the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, and Canada banned certain Russian banks from SWIFT, the high-security international network that facilitates payments among 11,000 financial institutions in 200 countries, and Germany halted certification of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia.9 As Russian military action continued, the sanctions became increasingly severe.
These developments presented a challenge not only to Putin but also to his comrade in Beijing. Continued economic and technological support for Russia runs the risk of international sanctions being extended to China. However, the stakes are higher for China, whose dependence on industrialized countries in terms of economics, finance, and technology is much greater than Russia’s — and as a result, China is much more vulnerable to sanctions than Russia. The international response to the war in Ukraine also presented an obstacle to Xi’s plan to reclaim Taiwan and reshape the world order, a gambit which could bring even higher costs for China. The most important challenge, however, pertains to the core interest of Xi and the CCP: the potential regime-change impact of the defeat of Putin’s soldiers in Ukraine, first in Moscow and then in Beijing.
With these challenges in mind, the Beijing leadership signaled some policy adjustments. First, Beijing ceased highlighting its "no limits" partnership with Russia. This phrase disappeared from Chinese state media, and leading Chinese diplomats in Europe openly cooled their rhetoric, explaining that the "no limits" statement also applied to China’s relations with Europe.10 Second, some Chinese policy elites, beginning in mid-March 2022, were allowed to express concern — in international rather than domestic outlets — about the risks of maintaining such close relations with Putin’s Russia for the CCP’s regime security.11 Signaling the CCP’s new calculation on the war, these statements predicted a reversal of the West’s decline and highlighted the potentially disastrous effects on the CCP regime of Russia’s military failure and Western responses to the war.12 Third, in June 2022, senior Chinese diplomat Le Yucheng, a spokesman for the Sino-Russian "no limits" partnership and a leading candidate to become the next foreign minister, was demoted to a less significant post and stripped of his diplomatic responsibilities.13
These adjustments, however, were symbolic and superficial rather than concrete and substantive and did little to overcome the dilemmas facing Xi. Following the 20th Party Congress in October 2022, Xi, as he began his third term, quickly developed a somewhat more coherent policy direction, which was crystalized in the official announcement of "China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis." Issued in February 2023, on the first anniversary of the Russian invasion, Xi’s relatively vague plan consisted of 12 points, primarily calling for the resumption of peace talks.14
China’s decision to issue the peace talks proposal was driven by several calculations. First, it aimed to win over European countries and drive a wedge into U.S.-European relations, thus diminishing the strength of the West. By highlighting the moral advantage of seeking peace through talks, China tried to leverage the desire of some European countries for a peaceful restoration of order without a direct military confrontation with Russia. In that respect, China’s proposal was a response to public opinion in Europe urging China to play the mediator between Russia and Ukraine. As few U.S. voices were calling for China to act as intermediary, the plan also aimed to drive a wedge between Western countries that firmly supported Ukraine’s military resistance and those that preferred to end the war as soon as possible regardless of the outcome, and between European countries that depended heavily on Russian energy resources and the United States, which enjoys greater geopolitical safety and energy independence.
Second, as Russia openly rejected the peace talks proposal, China could, on the international stage, make a show of detaching its position on the war from that of Russia, thus reducing, if not avoiding, the negative repercussions of Putin’s military failure for China’s regime security and foreign relations.
Thus, China’s policy adjustments were essentially an international deception, played with what I refer to as the CCP’s "two-hands" strategy: that is, promoting a coercive, hard-line position with one hand and a more conciliatory, soft-line strategy with the other. In this context, the coercive position refers to China’s continued support for Russian military action in Ukraine, while the peace plan and more conciliatory tone was added to China’s strategy to try to fend off international pressure and the disastrous consequences that Putin’s failure in Ukraine might bring to China.
The peace talks proposal demonstrates the inherent contradictions and difficulties of playing "two hands." On the one hand, China seemed to tone down its support for Russia — thereby placating the West — but on the other, it refrained from mentioning, let alone blaming or criticizing, the Russian invasion of Ukraine — thereby maintaining its alliance with Russia. Instead, China implicitly blamed the West for the war. Even as the Chinese peace talks proposal lists "respecting the sovereignty of all countries" as its first point, the document does not recognize the violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty by Russia. Instead, it proposes that "equal and uniform application of international law should be promoted, while double standards must be rejected" — essentially blaming the West for not respecting Russia’s sovereignty (in recent decades, the Chinese government has often criticized the West for its "double standards" in international relations). The second point makes this clearer by condemning the "Cold-War mentality" of unnamed countries (i.e. the United States) and emphasizing that "the security of a region should not be achieved by strengthening or expanding military blocs," an implicit reference to NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization). This point seems to back the Russian claim that the war was necessitated by the national security threat posed by the possible expansion of NATO.
The "two hands" strategy also played out in China’s broader diplomatic practice. On March 20, 2023, a week after beginning his third term as China’s leader, Xi made a state visit to Moscow.15 Acting as if he were the mediator between Russia and Ukraine, he then phoned Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy on April 26, stressing that China has "always stood on the side of peace."16 On the same day, China voted in favor of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2623, which acknowledged Russia's military aggression against Ukraine and emphasized the need to respect the independence and territorial integrity of all states. Beijing previously had abstained from voting on resolutions condemning the Russian invasion.17
At the same time, however, China continued to strengthen its connections with Russia in the political, economic, and military arenas. The volume of Sino-Russian bilateral trade in 2022 increased 29.3% over 2021,18 and in the first four months of 2023 it increased 41.3% compared with the same period in 2022.19 China and Russia organized a series of joint military exercises during 2022 and 2023,20 and in September 2022, China’s number-three leader, Li Zhanshu, visited Moscow.21
During his March 2023 visit to Moscow, Xi reaffirmed the strength of the China-Russia alliance to Putin: "Right now there are changes [in the world] the likes of which we haven’t seen for 100 years, and we are the ones driving these changes together."22 This statement confirmed that Xi views the Sino-Russian alliance as a critical piece of his grand strategy to reshape the world order and that he regards Putin’s military adventure in Ukraine as a significant step toward implementing that strategy. Li Zhanshu’s conversation with the leaders of the Russian State Duma, as it was disclosed by Russian media, drew international attention when Li articulated China’s stance was to “策应” (ceying) Russia in the Russo-Ukrainian war, using a Chinese word that is usually rendered in English as "support." However, this translation is not adequate to fully convey the verb’s meaning, which is to provide support in subtle, strategic, and well-coordinated ways behind the scenes.23
Phase III: Western Disenchantment, Chinese Dilemma, Xi’s War of Attrition
Xi’s recalculation of his Ukraine position was still a miscalculation: European responses to China’s peace talks proposal were not as enthusiastic as Beijing had expected. On the contrary, the plan only revealed that China had neither the intention to discourage the Russian invasion of Ukraine nor the willingness to support Ukraine’s resistance, thus exposing its hypocrisy. It is too early to conclude that European politicians have given up their diplomatic efforts to urge China to play a "positive role" in making peace in Ukraine, but it seems certain that the Western public’s disenchantment with China has increased.24
Meanwhile, the two-hands strategy may have exacerbated Russia’s misgivings about China’s commitment to the undeclared alliance. Longtime observers of Sino-Russian relations know well that neither Beijing nor Moscow is politically naïve about their relationship. And though they show few signs of public division, at least in private the Russian side may have an incentive to vent their suspicions and disappointments to increase pressure on Beijing to offer more substantial support for Russia in Ukraine.
In response to all these developments, Beijing again adjusted its policy on the Russo-Ukrainian war in the summer of 2023, this time to reemphasize its support for Russia. The recent removal of Foreign Minister Qin Gang from office may have been a sign of the adjustment; rumors suggest that Russia played a role in Qin’s removal, pointing to his disclosure of Sino-Russian discord to U.S. officials. Meanwhile, China’s new Defense Minister, Li Shangfu, twice visited Russia in just four months, in April and August — another sign of China’s policy adjustment.25 (Li has since been removed from his position, though this appears to be related to charges of corruption.) In September, PRC Vice Premier Zhang Guoqing met Putin in Vladivostok.26 One of the youngest members of the CCP’s Politburo, Zhang is a rising star in the Chinese leadership. As the leader in charge of the industrial economy, he brings a military-industrial background and significant experience acting as a primary liaison for Chinese arms deals, including with Iran. Thus, Zhang’s visit to Russia on the eve of Putin’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could portend deepening military-technical cooperation among the three countries.27
China’s new policy, in my interpretation, is merely a revision of its initial stance on the war, reverting to clear support for Russian military action in Ukraine with less emphasis on diplomatic camouflage. However, the recalculation takes into account the reality that the West is still powerful enough to block Xi’s grand strategy. Amid the exchange of high-level diplomatic visits, including Putin’s planned visit to China in October, observers foresee closer Sino-Russian connections, including in the military field.28
The aim of China’s Phase III policy adjustment was to strengthen Russia’s military capabilities. All the challenges that have arisen for China regarding Putin’s invasion of Ukraine — including Beijing’s reluctant, superficial, and hypocritical shifts in policy — have resulted from Putin’s inability to conclude the war quickly and efficiently, as Xi had expected. Now, Xi’s original dilemma persists: By supporting Putin, Xi risks further international condemnation, including sanctions, and — if Putin should lose in Ukraine — more questions about Xi’s leadership. However, Xi’s abandonment of Putin could hasten Russia’s failure in Ukraine and, in turn, bring significant problems for Xi and his regime even sooner.
To deal with this dilemma, we can expect Beijing’s strategy toward Russia to be characterized by three elements moving forward. First, Beijing will cease to try to significantly distance itself from Russia; but neither will China return to its "no limits" partnership with the country. Instead, Beijing will cover its tracks while trying to reduce, if not entirely avoid, the costs of standing with Russia.
Second, and most important, Xi’s revised calculations do not seem to be based on a Russian military triumph in Ukraine, but rather on Russia’s ability to fight for as long as possible. Xi might still expect that Putin could gain military advantage in Ukraine, especially if Western support for Ukraine begins to flag. In any case, a long war of attrition could have the effect of weakening both the West and Russia, thus making China the winner in both grand strategy and regime security.
Third, China’s new policy will give it a bargaining chip in its growing rivalry with the West, particularly the United States. If necessary, Xi could leverage the shifting goals of the war, giving China more freedom for international manipulation. This manipulation could unfold during Xi and Putin’s October meeting in Beijing and at the APEC summit in San Francisco in November.
China is a firm supporter of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Putin’s adventurous challenge to the global order, but its strategy regarding the Russo-Ukrainian war over the past 18 months has evolved. The development of China’s strategy has proceeded in three distinct phases. At the outset of the war, Xi boasted of China’s "friendship without limits" with Russia and tacitly endorsed Putin’s campaign in Ukraine. But as Russian troops met unexpectedly strong resistance and the international community lined up in support of Ukraine, China made reluctant and difficult adjustments to its strategy. Finally, in the summer of 2023, China quietly reverted to its original stance after its ambivalent "two-hands" strategy proved unsuccessful.
These changes have been driven by a series of calculations, miscalculations, and recalculations, based on two considerations: Xi Jinping’s grand strategy to subvert the Western-led democratic world order and the Chinese Communist Party’s deep concern for the security of its regime. Xi’s grand strategy is grounded in China’s growing economic power and the paramount leader’s judgment that the West is declining while the East is rising. The protracted war in Ukraine, however, demonstrated that Xi’s strategy was based on a grave miscalculation. Concerned that Russia’s military failure in Ukraine might topple Putin’s regime and, subsequently, threaten the CCP’s grip on power, Xi was forced to retreat from his "no limits" relationship with Russia and make some policy adjustments, leading to the Chinese proposal for peace talks. However, even this strategy turned out to be a miscalculation: Xi bargained that European countries would seek peace at the cost of justice, and that China’s peacemaking rhetoric would hide its true intent to continue supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine. When the peace talks proposal did not sell, China once again changed course, strengthening its connections with and support for Russia.
China’s current policy still aims to weaken the West via Putin’s military action, but it does not expect to actualize the "great change unseen in a century" that Xi foresaw at the beginning of the Ukraine war. Instead, Xi’s new calculation seems to support a war of attrition that would mire the West in the conflict and create conditions favoring the Xi-Putin alliance — or at least favoring Xi, even at the cost of exhausting Russia.
The rationale underlying China’s policy on the Russo-Ukrainian war has remained consistent, however: an undeclared alliance with Russia to reshape the Western-dominated global order and bolster authoritarianism at home and abroad. The ultimate priority of Xi and his regime lies in domestic politics — that is, maintaining the CCP’s monopoly of power in China as long as possible. To rebuff threats from Western and democratic influences, they need Putin and autocratic Russia as their strongest ally. Xi and the CCP, however, face a dilemma: simultaneously helping Putin become stronger while preparing for their own survival in the event that Russia fails in Ukraine and the Putin regime falls.
The trajectory of China’s policy on Ukraine indicates that it is adjusting its calculations in order to address the fundamental challenge of maintaining and maximizing the CCP regime’s power. This interest is compatible with and mutually supportive of Putin’s Russia, but it involves confrontation with the Western democracies that oppose both Russia in Ukraine and the CCP more broadly. China’s grand strategy is, as its bottom-line concern, to ensure nothing conflicts with the CCP’s regime security; but at its maximalist extent this strategy also includes reordering the world in order to try to further ensure that security. In practice, there are inconsistencies in balancing these minimal and maximal interests, as the problem of the Russo-Ukrainian war demonstrates. Nonetheless, the consistency in the CCP’s global conduct, including its attitude toward the Russo-Ukrainian war, remains clear: the CCP will always prioritize regime security above all else, and it will continually adjust its foreign policy accordingly in order to pursue that objective however it believes best.
- 新华网，“王毅：中俄战略合作没有止境，没有禁区，没有上限,” http://www.xinhuanet.com/world/2021-01/02/c_1126937927.htm.
- 中华人民共和国国防部网站, “习近平主席和普京总统将举行自2013年以来第38次会晤,” http://www.mod.gov.cn/topnews/2022-02/02/content_4904160.htm.
- China Daily, “从冬奥之约到新春之会: 中俄元首会晤的三重意涵,” https://china.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202202/06/WS61ff75fea3107be497a05421….
- 中华人民共和国外交部网站, “习近平同俄罗斯总统普京通电话,” https://www.mfa.gov.cn/zyxw/202202/t20220225_10645684.shtml.
- 中华人民共和国外交部网站，“台湾问题与新时代中国统一事业,” https://www.mfa.gov.cn/web/ziliao_674904/zt_674979/dnzt_674981/qtzt/tww….
- Qiushi (Seeking the Truth, the CCP Central Committee’s official periodical on theoretical issues), http://www.qstheory.cn/zhuanqu/2021-08/27/c_1127801606.htm.
- See, for instance, https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N22/630/66/PDF/N2263066.p…. Quotation is from this source of information.
- Quotation is from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/3/3/unga-resolution-against-ukraine….
- For example, see The PRC Mission to the EU website: “傅聪大使：中欧关系也可以’无上限’,” http://eu.china-mission.gov.cn/stxw/202212/t20221226_10994929.htm.
- See note 1.
- For example, 胡伟, “俄乌战争的可能结果与中国的抉择,”U.S.-China Perception Monitor, https://uscnpm.org/2022/03/17/e-wu-zhanzheng-de-keneng-jieguo-yu-zhongg…; 王辉耀, “是时候让中国帮忙给普京一条退路了,” 纽约时报中文网, https://cn.nytimes.com/opinion/20220314/china-russia-ukraine/dual/. For an analysis, see Guoguang Wu, “The Ukrainian Challenge to China’s Leadership Politics: An Emerging Divergence in Foreign Policy and Its Impact on the 20th Party Congress,” China Leadership Monitor 72, Summer 2022, https://www.prcleader.org/wu-3.
- “乐玉成履新国家广电总局副局长，卸任外交部副部长,” https://www.thepaper.cn/newsDetail_forward_18316177.
- For the original document, see https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/zyxw/202302/t20230224_11030707.shtml; for its official English version, see https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/zxxx_662805/202302/t20230224_11030713.html.
- BBC, “Ukraine's Zelensky holds first war phone call with China's Xi,” https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-65396613.
- https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/3958818; https://www.reuters.com/world/un-security-council-calls-rare-general-as…; https://www.kyivpost.com/post/16484#:~:text=On%20April%2026%2C%20China%….
- “2022年中俄贸易额达1902.7亿美元,” http://vladivostok.china-consulate.gov.cn/jmwl/jmkx/202306/t20230620_11….
- “中俄贸易额增长41%,” http://vladivostok.china-consulate.gov.cn/jmwl/jmkx/202306/t20230620_11….
- See, for example, “中俄将举行“海上联合-2022”联合军事演习,” http://www.mod.gov.cn/gfbw/qwfb/4928657.html; ““北部·联合-2023”演习开幕,” http://www.mod.gov.cn/gfbw/jsxd/ly/16238617.html; both from the National Defense Ministry of China. Also, The Wall Street Journal, “俄罗斯和中国联合军演，在俄乌战争之际强化合作,” https://www.wsj.com/video/china/0303D030-2483-438C-8B6E-122A332C1FF0.ht….
- Xinhua, “栗战书对俄罗斯进行正式友好访问,” http://www.xinhuanet.com/2022-09/10/c_1128993864.htm.
- BBC, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmYYcQdr3LM; https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/22/xi-tells-putin-of-changes-not-….
- The State Duma, “Leaders of the State Duma factions met with Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress,” http://duma.gov.ru/en/news/55208/. Also, https://www.rfi.fr/cn/中国/20220915-俄乌战争栗战书挺俄谈话画面曝光-引热议.
- See the latest news report for EU’s official attitude on the issue: https://www.rfi.fr/cn/国际/20230910-冯德莱恩-望中方为乌克兰实现公正持久和平发挥积极作用.
- 新华网, “中国防长李尚福首访俄罗斯，俄媒：证明两国关系的稳固性,” http://www.news.cn/mil/2023-04/17/c_1212095337.htm; 国防部, “李尚福将赴俄罗斯出席第十一届莫斯科国际安全会议、访问白俄罗斯,” http://www.mod.gov.cn/gfbw/qwfb/16245004.html.
- 中国共产党新闻网，”俄罗斯总统普京会见张国清,” http://cpc.people.com.cn/n1/2023/0913/c64094-40076457.html.
- Zhang met Putin on September 12, immediately followed by the Putin-Kim summit on September 13. For the latter meeting, see CNN, “Putin talks Military Cooperation with Kim as North Korean Leader Endorses Russia’s War on Ukraine,” https://www.cnn.com/2023/09/12/asia/kim-jong-un-putin-meeting-russia-in…;
- Reuters, “Putin Set to Visit China in October, TASS Reports,” https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/putin-set-visit-china-october-krem….