MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin will meet on Thursday with a close aide to Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Kremlin said on Wednesday, underlining Russia’s increased effort to establish closer ties with Beijing as its relations with the West have deteriorated.
The meeting with Li Zhanshu, head of the General Office of the Communist Party of China, will take place with relations between Moscow and the West at their worst since the Cold War. The European Union and United States have imposed sanctions on Russia over its role in the Ukraine separatist conflict.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said this week that the Chinese president had confirmed he would visit Moscow on May 9 to join in commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War Two in Europe. Other leaders, mainly from Asia, former Soviet republics and Latin America, will also be on hand.
China looks to Russia for help in diversifying its energy supplies. Last year, the two non-Western world powers signed a multi-year deal gas supply that Russia’s gas monopoly Gazprom estimated at $400 billion.
Writing by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Mark Heinrich