The Russian leader says he expects the Chinese president to pay a state visit to Moscow in 2023.

Russia’s ties with China are the “best in history,” President Vladimir Putin told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, saying Moscow would seek to strengthen military cooperation with Beijing.

The two leaders spoke via video link on Friday, and Putin said he expected Xi to make a state visit to Moscow in 2023. Ukraine.

In opening remarks of the video conference broadcast on state television, Putin said: “We are expecting you, dear Mr. Chairman, dear friend, we are expecting you on a state visit to Moscow next spring.”

He said the visit would “show the world the closeness of Russian-Chinese relations”.

Putin said about eight minutes Relations between Russia and China grew important as a stabilizing factor, and that he sought to deepen military cooperation between the two countries.

In a response that took about a quarter as long, Xi said China was ready strengthen strategic cooperation with Russia against the background of what he called a “difficult” situation in the world as a whole.

Neither of them directly mentioned Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Russia and China conducted joint naval exercises, which the Russian army chief described as a response to the US military’s “aggressive” stance in the Asia-Pacific region.

Russia leading supplier of oil to China

Putin also said that Russia has become one of China’s largest suppliers of oil and gas.

“Russia has become one of the leaders in oil exports to China,” with 13.8 billion cubic meters of gas shipped through the Power of Siberia pipeline in the first 11 months of 2022.

Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as China’s top supplier of crude oil last month.

Putin added that Russia is China’s second largest supplier of pipeline gas and the fourth largest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG). He said in December that shipments were 18 percent over daily contractual obligations.

Energy exports from Moscow to China have increased significantly since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24. Western countries imposed unprecedented sanctions about Russia, China refrained from condemning its military campaign, instead emphasizing the need for peace.

But Beijing has also been careful not to provide the kind of direct material support that could provoke Western sanctions against China.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said last month that his country’s energy exports to China had risen 64 percent in value this year and 10 percent in volume.

Last week, Putin opened a gas field in eastern Siberia that will allow Russia to increase its energy exports to China as the West tries to reduce its dependence on Moscow.

China and Russia are getting closer in recent years as part of what they call a “no-limits” relationship that counterbalances the global dominance of the United States.

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