Kremlin reveals first in-person Putin-XI meeting for two years

The crucial meeting will take place before the Olympics opening ceremony

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will hold a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Friday, before the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, the Kremlin has announced. 

Asked by a reporter, on Wednesday, if the crucial summit will place before or after the ceremony, spokesman Dmitry Peskov replied: “No, before (the ceremony).” He specified that it is planned for “sometime in the middle of the day, Beijing time.” No press conference has been scheduled and only a short introductory part of the negotiations will be made public.

Putin is one of just a few world leaders set to attend the Olympics as several major Western countries, including the US and Australia, have declared a diplomatic boycott over China’s alleged human rights record. 

The summit between Putin and Xi, their first face-to-face meeting in more than two years, comes at a dramatic time when Russia is facing significant pressure from the US and NATO over claims it plans to invade eastern Ukraine – something which Moscow vehemently denies.

This situation, along with Russia’s recent security proposals and bilateral agenda matters, such as trade, investment, space projects, and energy, is expected to be discussed by the two leaders.

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