MOSCOW: Moscow is ready to help Chinese businesses replace Western firms that have left Russia over the Ukraine conflict, President Vladimir Putin told Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Tuesday during talks at the Kremlin.
Speaking on the second day of Xi’s state visit to Moscow, Putin also said the two leaders had discussed the proposed Power of Siberia 2 pipeline, which would ship Russian gas to China.
The planned pipeline would deliver 50 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas per year from Russia to China via Mongolia. Moscow put forward the idea many years ago, but it has gained urgency as Russia turns to China to replace Europe as its major gas customer.
Xi calls Russia ties priority on Moscow trip
“I am convinced that our multi-faceted cooperation will continue to develop for the good of the peoples of our countries,” Putin said in televised comments to Xi, adding that Russia is a “strategic supplier” of oil, gas and coal to China.
Xi said China and Russia should work more closely to push forward greater “practical cooperation”.
“The early harvest of (our) cooperation can be seen, and further cooperation is being advanced,” Xi told Putin, according to Hong Kong cable television.
Russia’s Gazprom already supplies gas to China through the Power of Siberia pipeline under a 30-year, $400 billion deal launched at the end of 2019. That pipeline spans some 3,000 km (1,865 miles).
Russia’s gas exports to China are still a small fraction of the record 177 bcm it delivered to Europe in 2018-19. Since the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, volumes to Europe have shrunk, reaching about 62 bcm in 2022.
Putin said on Tuesday Russia would deliver at least 98 bcm of gas to China by 2030.
The Russian and Chinese presidents were expected to discuss in detail the Ukraine crisis later on Tuesday after Putin provided some “clarifications” of Moscow’s position to Xi in a first round of talks on Monday.