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Personal connections that bind: The evolution of the Xi-Putin relationship

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            Even if Beijing distances itself from the Ukraine invasion, the strong connection between China’s and Russia’s leaders is unlikely to change much in the medium future.

Only six weeks ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, met soon before the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics and issued a broad 5,000-word statement reaffirming their no-boundaries partnership.

As Moscow massed tens of thousands of troops on Ukraine’s border, the duo disavowed NATO, the US-European military alliance formed during the Cold War and now dealing with a resurgent Russia, in their 38th in-person encounter in nine years.

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