Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping began a call via video link on Friday by reaffirming their mutual partnership in the face of international condemnation over Moscow's war in Ukraine.
In opening remarks broadcast on Russian state TV, Putin said that the stabilizing force of the Russia-China relationship was becoming even more critical against the backdrop of increasing geopolitical tensions.
He added that relations between the Russian Federation and China were "the best in history" and could "withstand all tests," and invited Xi to Moscow in the spring of 2023.
"We share the same views on the causes, course and logic of the ongoing transformation of the global geopolitical landscape," Putin said. "In the face of unprecedented pressure and provocations from the West, we defend our principled positions and defend not only our own interests, but also all those who stand for a truly democratic system and the right of countries to freely determine their own destiny."
The Russian leader also pointed to record growth in trade, despite "unfavorable market conditions," a veiled reference to sanctions, and said they would increase trade turnover to $200 billion ahead of schedule.
Putin also said that the two countries would strengthen cooperation between their armed forces: "We intend to strengthen cooperation between the armed forces of Russia and China."