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Putin's 5-year war plan with Ukraine revealed in conversation with Xi Jinping, Nikkei reports

Putin's 5-year war plan with Ukraine revealed in conversation with Xi Jinping, Nikkei reports Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin warned his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, that Russia's war against Ukraine could last for five years, reports Nikkei Asia.

The five-year war

This warning, as reported by Nikkei sources, was voiced by Putin during Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow in March this year. At that time, the Russian dictator stated that Russia "will fight for at least five years" but assured China's leader that ultimately Russia would prevail.

Nikkei reports that regardless of whether Xi Jinping believed Putin's words, it could affect further relations between Russia and China, reflected, for instance, in the dispatch of a Chinese peacekeeping mission to Europe and the dismissal of China's foreign minister.

Moreover, according to Nikkei, China has revised its strategy as the prolonged war in Ukraine will significantly impact Xi Jinping's plans and ambitions during his third term as China's leader, particularly in relation to Taiwan's annexation.

Considering the Kremlin leader's statement, Nikkei notes that signals supposedly sent by Russia about openness to a ceasefire and negotiations should "not be taken at face value." Apparently, Putin may just want to create an illusion ahead of the presidential elections, believing that this might aid him.

Putin didn't warn Xi Jinping

Putin met Xi Jinping shortly before the full-scale invasion of Russian forces into Ukraine. This took place during the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February 2022, where the Russian dictator was present at the opening ceremony. However, as Nikkei reports, Putin didn't warn Xi Jinping about his extensive plans, which offended the Chinese leader.

Beijing believed that Russian troops would only invade the eastern part of Ukraine but didn't anticipate a full-scale assault, especially four days after the closing of the Winter Olympics in Beijing and a week before the start of the Paralympics.

Considering this, Nikkei explains that China doubted Putin's words about a five-year war and began considering safeguarding its interests regardless of how events in Ukraine might unfold. In particular, China initiated its own "peace mission," which, as Nikkei writes, displayed a slight shift in Xi Jinping's pro-Russian stance and triggered anger in the Kremlin.

Xi Jinping's visit to Putin

The Chinese leader visited Moscow for a two-day trip on March 20. During an informal 4-hour meeting with Putin, the topic of the war in Ukraine was discussed.

China stated that Xi Jinping's visit to Russia aimed to "urge peace and promote talks."