Russia and China have reportedly agreed on a common position on Ukraine, following a meeting between the nations’ foreign ministers in Beijing on Thursday.
The visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was the first foreign political guest Beijing has received for nearly two years, but the exchange saw both sides coordinate their positions on regional issues of common interest, such as Ukraine, Afghanistan and the situation on the Korean Peninsula, a statement read.
Photos released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry showed both ministers greeting each other with their elbows while wearing masks.
China expressed “understanding and support” for Russia’s security stance on its relations with the United States and NATO, according to a statement.
Lavrov’s meeting with his Chinese counterpart acted as a precursor for an encounter between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who are expected to meet on Friday before attending the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Ukraine says Russia has deployed 115,000 troops near its borders, raising fears of a looming attack. Moscow denies any such plan, but international concern that Russia may be preparing for war is high.
Russia has called on NATO to ban Ukraine from joining the alliance and ordered its withdrawal from Eastern Europe.
The United States and its allies have warned that an invasion would trigger harsh economic sanctions and have rejected Russia’s demands for NATO.