China congratulates Putin on election win, says ties will strengthen

By Thomson Reuters Mar 18, 2024 | 4:06 AM

BEIJING (Reuters) – China congratulated Vladimir Putin on Monday on winning Russia’s presidential election and said the strategic relationship between the two countries will continue to strengthen.

Putin won a record post-Soviet landslide in Russia’s election on Sunday, cementing his already tight grip on power in a victory he said showed Moscow had been right to stand up to the West and send its troops into Ukraine.

China President Xi Jinping sent a message to congratulate Putin on his re-election as president of Russia, Chinese state media reported.

“We firmly believe that under the strategic guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Putin, China-Russia relations will continue to move forward,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian told reporters when asked about the vote.

“China and Russia are each other’s largest neighbours and comprehensive strategic partners in the new era.”

China has strengthened its ties with Russia over the past few years, even as Western criticism of the war in Ukraine intensified.

The two countries declared a “no limits” partnership in February 2022 when Putin visited Beijing just days before he sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine, triggering the deadliest land war in Europe since World War Two.

It has been reported that China and Russia are preparing “several meetings” between Xi and Putin this year.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia, and Lin said the two heads of state would continue to maintain close exchanges.

(Reporting by Liz Lee; Writing by Bernard Orr; Editing by Nick Macfie)