Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes that his Chinese counterpart and "close buddy" Xi Jinping will visit Moscow.
Three days after being accused of war crimes in Ukraine by an international tribunal, Russian President Vladimir Putin will seek more than ever for his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to demonstrate solidarity as he welcomes him to Moscow.
Xi will be the first international leader to shake Putin's hand after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin on Friday for the deportation of Ukrainian minors to Russia since the beginning of the war.
Russia will depict Xi's travel on Monday – his first since gaining an extraordinary third term this month – as proof that it has a powerful ally willing to stand with it against a hostile West that is, according to Russia, attempting in vain to isolate and defeat it.
Moscow and China are not members of the International Criminal Court, which action the Kremlin described as appalling but legally invalid. Nevertheless, by naming Putin a wanted man in 123 nations practically on the eve of Xi's travel, the court has cast an unpleasant light on a meeting that was already difficult for the Chinese leader.
Putin said he had high hopes for the arrival of his "dear old buddy" Xi, with whom he forged a "no limits" strategic alliance last year, in a piece for a Chinese publication published on the Kremlin website late on Sunday night.
In addition, he appreciated China's willingness to resolve the situation.
"We appreciate (China's) balanced stance on the events unfolding in Ukraine and its comprehension of their context and root reasons. Putin stated, "We appreciate China's desire to play a constructive role in resolving the problem."
China produced a 12-point paper last month urging discussion and a settlement in Ukraine, but it featured only general words and no precise suggestions for how to stop the year-long conflict.
Ukraine cautiously welcomed the Chinese proposal but stated that any settlement would need Russia to withdraw from all of the territories it seized in 2014, including the Crimean peninsula.
With China's failure to criticize Russia's incursion, the United States responded severely sceptically to China's involvement.
John Kirby, a spokesperson for the White House, told Fox News on Sunday that any request for a ceasefire by Putin and Xi at this time would be unacceptable because it would "ratify Russia's conquest to date."
"All this will do is give Mr Putin more time to re-fit, re-train, re-man, and attempt additional offensives at his convenience," he warned.