Putin claims Russia has “nothing to lose” over actions in Ukraine, as the country looks east for economic aid

Speaking at an economic forum in the far eastern city of Vladivostok, Putin tried to defend the costs of what he called his country’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, despite recent Western intelligence reports indicating that Russia is facing Acute shortage of personnel and military equipment.

“We have lost nothing and will not lose anything. Our main gain is the strengthening of our sovereignty. We have not started anything regarding military action, but we are only trying to finish it,” Putin told the audience.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement on Monday that more than 25,000 Russian soldiers had been killed since Putin’s invasion began in February of this year.

Russia has paid an economic price for its aggression, too. A wave of punitive sanctions from Western countries targeting Russia’s vital energy exports and its financial system has left the country grappling with recession, and may face Long period of stagnation.
Wednesday’s Eastern Economic Forum, which focuses on building investment relations between Russia’s eastern region and global investors, comes on the heels of Advertising Russia’s energy giant Gazprom said on Tuesday it had signed an agreement to start converting payments for gas supplies to China into yuan and rubles instead of dollars, a development Putin noted in his speech on Wednesday.

The forum also saw China’s third leader, Li Zhanshu, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China and the country’s top legislator, meet in person with Putin on Wednesday, at what was the highest level, face to face. The meeting between the two countries since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The two were photographed together at a plenary session of the Forum.

The forum was also attended by junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, according to Russian state media.

Pave the way

The meeting between Li and Putin could pave the way for China’s supreme leader Xi Jinping’s face-to-face meeting with Putin In Uzbekistan next week.

Russia’s envoy to Beijing Andrei Denisov told reporters on Wednesday that Xi will meet with Putin at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit scheduled for Sept. 15-16, Russia’s state news agency TASS reported.

This will be the first personal meeting between the two leaders, who have forged a close relationship, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. This will also be Xi’s first overseas trip since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

Li arrived in Vladivostok on Wednesday for the forum, becoming the most senior Chinese official to leave China since the start of the epidemic, which has led to the country closing borders and limiting personal diplomacy. Chinese state media reported this week that the station is part of a 10-day overseas tour, which will see Li visit Russia, South Korea, Mongolia and Nepal from Wednesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, Chairman of the Standing Committee of China's Congress Li Zhanshu, left, and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, right, arrive for a plenary session at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia on September 7.

The diplomatic visit underscores the importance of Russian relations for China, even in the face of the international blow against Moscow after its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.

It also comes weeks before a major political meeting every five years in Beijing, where Xi is expected to break tradition and usher in a third term in power, cementing his role as China’s most powerful leader in decades.

Moscow and Beijing have emerged as closer partners in recent years as both face tensions with the West, with Xi and Putin declaring the two countries to have a “borderless” partnership weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine. Since then Beijing Denial of conviction Aggression, instead, has repeatedly blamed the conflict on NATO and the United States.

The two countries noted that their partnership remains strong, with China’s Foreign Ministry saying last month that the two sides agreed to “deepen practical cooperation” during a meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of a regional meeting. pool in Phnom Penh.

Ahead of his expected visit to Russia, Li made similar remarks during his meeting last week with Russian Ambassador Denisov in Beijing. There, Li, who is also chairman of the Chinese Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, stressed that the two countries “are going in the right direction under the strategic guidance of the two leaders, with strong mutual support and firm political trust,” according to China. Government media.

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