Russia and China say they are working to achieve “a multipolar, fair, and democratic world order.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is meeting, on Wednesday, with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, for the first time since Moscow launched its military campaign in Ukraine on February 24.
Unlike most Western nations, and some Asian countries, Beijing has refused to condemn Moscow and rejected calls to impose sanctions.
The neighboring countries will work to achieve “a multipolar, fair, and democratic world order,” Lavrov said after arriving in Tunxi, a city in China’s eastern inland Anhui Province, on Wednesday.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova posted a photo of the two ministers greeting each other with an elbow bump.
Beijing has argued that economic restrictions disrupt world trade and will not resolve the conflict. Officials insist only dialogue and diplomacy can lead to peace.
TASS quoted Wang as saying that despite “new challenges” to the ties between the two nations, “the will of both sides to develop bilateral relations has become even stronger.”
The minister said this month that China’s relations with Russia is “one of the most crucial bilateral relationships in the world,” and hailed the friendship between the pair as “ironclad.”
Tunxi will host a summit on Afghanistan on Thursday, attended by the US, Russia, and Pakistan. American and other Western troops left the country last year after more than 20 years of occupation, while the Taliban militant group returned to power in Kabul.
Moscow attacked Ukraine in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk.
The German and French-brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to regularize the status of the regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev says the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.