The Daily Telegraph

China unlikely to give lifeline to Moscow

- By Nataliya Vasilyeva

VLADIMIR PUTIN is unlikely to gain desperatel­y needed military support from Xi Jinping today when the leaders of Russia and China meet for the first time since the war in Ukraine began.

The two presidents will gather at a summit of Asia’s leaders for a rare faceto-face meeting, just as Mr Putin’s forces suffer staggering losses in Ukraine. But analysts say the meeting will not see Mr Xi agree to send weapons to its increasing­ly desperate ally.

The ancient Silk Road desert city of Samarkand in Uzbekistan was this week ordered into a security lockdown for the summit of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisati­on (SCO), referred to as the “Dictators’ Club” because of the lack of democratic members.

Schools and public buildings are being closed for three days, the airport was shut and only a select few were allowed to travel into the city by train.

All cars except vehicles with SCO permits have been barred from the roads, leaving the city like a ghost town.

Mr Putin and Mr Xi last saw each other a few weeks before the Feb 24 invasion of Ukraine, when both pledged a friendship with “no limits”.

But the direction of the war in Ukraine has shown that the Kremlin overestima­ted Beijing’s support for Moscow and while the SCO could, in theory, counter Nato, it lacks strong security guarantees and is often dismissed as largely irrelevant.

China did not explicitly back Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but instead used it as a chance to criticise the West for unleashing an economic war.

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