Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed a peace plan for the war in Ukraine as they met in Moscow Tuesday. Photo by Vladimir Astapkovich/Sputnik/EPA-EFE
March 21 (UPI) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed peace proposals for Ukraine during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday. A joint statement published afterward lacked a call for Russian withdrawal.
After the meeting, the leaders published a joint statement incorporating elements of a Chinese peace proposal that was discussed.
Using language that reinforces Russia's position that NATO expansionism is to blame for the war in Ukraine, the joint statement denounced "bloc confrontation."
The statement called on all sides to "respect all countries' reasonable security concerns and prevent the formation of bloc confrontation."
"Both sides call for a halt to any moves that could cause tension and continue the warfare, in order to avoid the crisis deteriorating, if not getting out of control," the joint statement read.
Conspicuously absent from the statement was any call for the Russian government to withdraw their forces from Ukraine.
Xi is visiting Moscow for three days, beginning Monday.
The Chinese peace plan, introduced on the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion, outlines 12 points, including "ceasing hostilities" and resuming peace talks with Ukraine. It also called for prisoner exchanges between Russia and Ukraine and an end to so-called "unilateral" sanctions.
On Tuesday, Xi also met with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Foreign Minster Sergey Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev.
Xi invited Putin to visit China to take part in a third meeting of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation during an "informal meeting" with the Russian president, China's Xinhua news agency reported.
The Chinese president arrived in Moscow on Monday and met with Putin for an "in-depth and frank exchange on Sino-Russian issues of common concern," according to Beijing's foreign ministry.
While Beijing said Xi would call for peace during the visit, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the trip suggests China does not feel a need to hold the Kremlin accountable after the International Criminal Court last week issued an arrest warrant for Putin for illegally transferring children from Ukraine to Russia.
Blinken said the Chinese leader would rather "provide diplomatic cover" for Russia to continue committing war crimes.