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China and Russia: the perennial frenemies

As Russia’s relations with the west go into deep freeze, watch as Putin warms to the east

By Raffaello Pantucci  

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Photo: Lan Hongguang/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Back in 2014, relations between Russia and the west took a nosedive as Moscow annexed Crimea, then invaded eastern Ukraine. The west’s opprobrium was largely shrugged off by Russian president Vladimir Putin who instead headed to Shanghai where he was feted by President Xi Jinping. A $400bn gas deal between their two countries was signed. As we watch western relations with Moscow slide even lower in the wake of the…

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