Russian PM in Shanghai for economic forum

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Michaustin is in Shanghai on Tuesday to attend an economic forum, part of a two-day visit during which he will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Michostein arrived in Shanghai late Monday. He was received by the Russian Ambassador to China, Igor Morgolov, as well as the Chinese Ambassador to Moscow, Zhang Hanhui.

In Shanghai, the Russian prime minister is scheduled to participate in a Russia-China business forum and visit a petrochemical research institute, according to the Kremlin, and will also hold talks with “representatives of Russian business circles” in China.

According to the Bloomberg agency, the forum invited several Russian businessmen targeted by Western sanctions, particularly in the key sectors of steel, mining and fertiliser, as well as the deputy prime minister in charge of energy, Alexander Novak.

China last year became Russia’s biggest customer in the energy sector, allowing Moscow not to see its gas exports fall under Western sanctions linked to the war in Ukraine.

An AFP photographer noted a strong police presence on Tuesday around the Russian consulate and convention center in Shanghai where the economic forum is held.

According to Russian state agency Tass, Mikhail Michaustin will travel to Beijing on Wednesday, where he will meet President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

China and Russia have increased economic cooperation and diplomatic contacts in recent years.

Their strategic partnership has strengthened since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with analysts saying China now has the upper hand in relations given Russia’s isolation on the international stage.

Beijing claims to be neutral in the conflict and has never publicly condemned the invasion.

In February, the Chinese government published a document calling for a “political solution” to the conflict and respecting the territorial integrity of all countries – Ukraine included.

At a March summit in Moscow, President Xi invited his counterpart Vladimir Putin to visit Beijing.

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