Xi ends Moscow visit, hails ‘new era’ in ties
AFP | Kyiv
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
A Russian drone attack on a school near Kyiv killed at least four people before Chinese leader Xi Jinping left Moscow on Wednesday at the close of a summit with President Vladimir Putin.
Xi called each other "dear friend" and hailed a "new era" in their nations' ties following two days of talks marked by pomp and a display of unity against the West.
Xi's plane left Moscow's Vnukovo airport yesterday after being seen off by an honour guard, capping a visit that was seen as a boost for the internationally-isolated Russian leader.
But in Ukraine, at least four people were killed and others wounded in a drone attack that hit a school in the Kyiv region late Tuesday, officials said Wednesday.
Ukraine's air force said Russia attacked Ukraine with 21 "Iranian-made" drones overnight, and 16 were shot down.
During the Moscow summit Putin said he was open to talks on Ukraine and praised Beijing's 12-point position paper on the conflict, which includes a call for dialogue and respect for all countries' territorial sovereignty.
After talks with Xi, Putin said that "many of the provisions" of China's initiative can form the basis of a peace settlement for Ukraine when Kyiv and the West are ready for it.
"However, so far we have not seen such readiness on their part," he added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv had invited China to talks, and was waiting for an answer from Beijing.
The United States, however, said it does not see China as capable of being an impartial mediator -- Washington's most direct criticism yet of Beijing's aim to be a middleman in efforts to end the conflict.
On Wednesday, the Kremlin said it was not surprised by the West's "hostile" reaction to the summit.
"I am sure that Russian-Chinese cooperation has truly unlimited possibilities and prospects," Putin said at a state dinner following the talks, where he toasted the "prosperity" of Russian and Chinese people. On the second day of his visit to Moscow, Xi said ties with Russia were "entering a new era".
Putin called the talks "meaningful and frank" and said that Russia, which has been largely cut out of European markets because of sanctions, would be able to meet China's "growing demand" for energy.