Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing at the start of the Winter Olympics for a summit that will include discussion of Moscow’s talks with the U.S. and NATO about Ukraine, according to the official Russian news agency TASS.
According to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, Putin, who is set to attend the Feb. 4 Opening Ceremony, will focus on “security guarantees” being offered by NATO.
“There has been no coordination [of Moscow’s and Beijing’s actions on security guarantees] until now,” Peskov said.
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“At the same time, Russia and China, as countries maintaining relations of privileged partnership, are in constant exchange of information and views on the most topical matters, including this one,” Peskov added. “That is why, naturally, President Putin will inform Xi about what is going on in this sphere.”
Last week, Russian diplomats met with officials from the United States and its NATO allies for security negotiations in three European cities amid the massing of Russian troops and equipment near Ukraine’s border, which has caused concern that Russia could be planning to launch an invasion.
Moscow has denied such an intention and in turn accused Ukrainian authorities of planning an offensive to reclaim control over territories in eastern Ukraine held by Russia-backed separatists — allegations Ukraine has rejected.
President Biden twice discussed the Russian troop buildup with Putin last month, warning that Moscow would face “severe consequences,” including unprecedented economic and financial sanctions, if it attacked its neighbor.
Putin has described the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO and the alliance deploying weapons there as a “red line” for Moscow. The Kremlin demanded that Washington and its allies make a binding pledge excluding NATO’s expansion to Ukraine, Georgia or any other ex-Soviet nations.
Fox News has learned there is growing concern from U.S. officials over Russian troops moving into Belarus over the weekend for alleged joint military exercises. The exercises, which are underway in the landlocked country, follow a manufactured migrant crisis in Belarus in November to divert attention from Russia’s build-up on the border with Ukraine.
A State Department official said the current situation is beyond what is expected of a “normal” exercise. “What this is, is something entirely different,” the official said.
U.S. officials are also concerned about whether Russia will move nuclear weapons into Belarus, which is, and has been since 1994, under the control of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
“This is a moment of decision for Lukashenko about the sovereignty of his country,” the State Department official noted.
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TASS said Tuesday that the Russian, Iranian and Chinese navies will hold joint naval maneuvers.
Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin and the Associated Press contributed to this article.