The Kremlin on Monday slammed comments made by French President Emmanuel Macron, who said Russia was becoming a vassal to China as a result of the conflict in Ukraine.
“We categorically disagree with this. Our relations with China have the character of a special, strategic partnership,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Peskov said Macron’s comments reflected “an absolutely wrong understanding of what is happening.”
In an interview published Sunday, Macron said that Russia, isolated by its offensive in Ukraine, had “entered a form of subservience with regards to China.”
Macron also said Russia had already suffered a “geopolitical defeat” in the interview published by the Opinion newspaper.
China has sought to posture itself as neutral in the Ukraine offensive, but it has never condemned the Russian invasion.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping presented himself as a mediator concerned with maintaining stability when he visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in March.
The relationship between China and Russia is based on “mutual interests, benefits, close worldviews and the common rejection of any attempt to dictate” a country’s behaviors, Peskov said.
Xi has not visited Kyiv but he spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by telephone in late April, the first known phone call between the two leaders since the start of the offensive.
Chinese special envoy Li Hui is expected to arrive in Kyiv for a two-day visit on Tuesday.
He will be the highest-ranking Chinese diplomat to visit the country since Moscow launched its offensive last year.
He will also visit Russia, as well as European Union members Poland, France and Germany.