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    Putin, Xi Vow Closer Ties as Russia Bombards Ukraine Again

    Putin, Xi Vow Closer Ties as Russia Bombards Ukraine Again

    KYIV, (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping vowed Friday to deepen their bilateral cooperation against the backdrop of 's 10-month war in Ukraine, which weathered another night of drone and rocket attacks following a massive missile bombardment.

    Putin and Xi made no direct mention of Ukraine in their opening remarks via videoconference, which were broadcast publicly, before going into private talks. But they hailed strengthening ties between Moscow and amid what they called “geopolitical tensions” and a “difficult international situation,” with Putin expressing his wish to extend military collaboration.

    “In the face of increasing geopolitical tensions, the significance of the Russian-Chinese strategic partnership is growing as a stabilizing factor,” said Putin, whose invasion of a neighboring country has been stymied by fierce Ukrainian resistance and Western military aid.

    The Russian leader said he expected Xi to visit Moscow in the spring. Such a trip “will demonstrate to the whole world the strength of the Russian-Chinese ties on key issues, will become the main political event of the year in bilateral relations,” he said.

    Putin said military cooperation has a “special place” in the relationship between their countries. He said the Kremlin aimed to “strengthen the cooperation between the armed forces of and China.”

    Xi, in…

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