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Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

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Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on Thursday, Sept. 15. (Alexandr Demyanchuk/Pool/Sputnik/AP)

In his first face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged “strong support” for their “respective core interests,” according to according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua. 

“China is ready to work with Russia in extending strong support to each other on issues concerning their respective core interests,” Xi Jinping said to Putin during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, according to Xinhua. 

“China is also willing to deepen pragmatic cooperation in such areas as trade, agriculture and connectivity,” and the two countries should “expand pragmatic cooperation, safeguard security and interests of the region, and preserve the common interests of developing countries and emerging market countries,” Xi said, according to Xinhua. 

Xi called for both China and Russia to “strengthen coordination” within the SCO, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, the BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — and “other multilateral mechanisms to promote solidarity and mutual trust among related parties,” according to Xinhua. 

Some context: Putin on Thursday praised China’s “balanced position” on the Ukraine war, though he conceded Beijing had “questions and concerns” over the invasion, in what appeared to be a veiled admission of their diverging views over the protracted military assault. China has so far refused to outright condemn Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine while stepping up economic assistance to its neighbor, boosting bilateral trade to record levels in a boon to Russian business amid Western sanctions.

Xi also told Putin that “China is willing to make a great effort with Russia” to “take responsibilities and to play a role in the midst of the chaotic interweaving world,” adding that it will be to “provide stability to the world.”  

Ahead of their meeting, Xi had said he was glad to be meeting Putin while “facing the change of the world, the change of time and the change of history.” 

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