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MOSCOW: Russian leader Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday he had accepted Chinese President Xi Jinping’s invitation to travel to China in October.

China and Russia describe each other as strategic allies, with both countries frequently touting their “no limits” partnership and economic and military cooperation.

They came even closer after the start of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine in February last year, which China has refused to criticise.

“I was pleased to accept the invitation of the Chairman of the People’s Republic of China to visit China in October,” Putin told Beijing’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi in televised remarks as they met in Saint Petersburg.

In March, China’s leader Xi Jinping made a state visit to Moscow, where he and Putin sought to showcase a united front against Western countries.

The top Chinese diplomat was on a four-day visit to Russia, in the latest of a series of high-level contacts between Moscow and Beijing. The Kremlin has sought to deepen ties with China after the start of its Ukraine offensive, which has thrown Moscow into increasing isolation. China has sought to position itself as a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict, while offering Moscow a vital diplomatic and financial lifeline.

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