The meeting between Russian President Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping was a necessary check-up of relations between the two countries. Putin made four comments that together perfectly encapsulate what the central problem for Russia is that he wanted to address with Xi. The meeting was an important moment for the two countries to further improve energy ties. China stated two weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine that “there is ‘no limit’ to how far Russian and Chinese friendship may go ” and signed a slew of huge oil and gas deals shortly afterward that provided an additional layer of insulation to both from any U.S. sanctions in the future. However, signaling perhaps that Beijing did not believe that Russia would necessarily launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine before it did so, only a day after the military conflict spread to Ukraine’s major cities, Chinese President Xi Jinping held urgent […]