MOSCOW, March 21 (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Monday (Mar 20) that Russia was open to discussing China's proposals to end the fighting in Ukraine at the start of high-stakes talks in the Kremlin.
The summit comes as China seeks to portray itself as a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict, but Washington warned the world should not be fooled by Beijing's moves.
Xi's three-day trip also serves as a show of support for internationally isolated Putin, just days after a war crimes tribunal issued a warrant for his arrest over accusation of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children.
"We are always open to negotiations," Putin told the Chinese leader, who was on his first visit to Moscow since the start of Russia's military intervention in Ukraine last year.
The United States has accused Beijing of mulling arms exports to Moscow - claims China has vociferously denied.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced scepticism over Xi's Ukraine proposals, warning they could be a "stalling tactic" to help Russia.
"Russia alone could end its war today. Until Russia does, we will stand united with Ukraine for as long as it takes," Blinken said later in a statement.
Xi and Putin came together in part to discuss China's 12-point position paper on the Ukraine conflict, which includes a call for dialogue and respect for all countries' territorial sovereignty.