VILNIUS, Mar 20, BNS – Visiting a war criminal puts the whole visit in a different light, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Monday, referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow to meet with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
"Well, probably (the Chinese president – BNS) is not as happy as before the ICC announcement (...) Well, visiting a war criminal brings a different light to the whole visit. My guess is that President Xi feels the he was deceived by the agreement signed just before the war. He was deceived about the war, and now he understands that he is being dragged into the situation," Landsbergis told reporters in Brussels, referring to the arrest warrant for Putin, recently issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Formerly socialist allies with stormy relations, China and Russia have in recent years stepped up their cooperation in the economic, military and political areas, which they call a partnership "without limits".
China has declared its "boundless friendship" with Russia and has so far refused to condemn Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, although it says the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected.
Xi Jinping's visit comes several days after the ICC issued a warrant for Putin's arrest on charges of war crimes for the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children. Moscow has called the warrant null and void. Russia is not a member of the ICC and it's unclear whether or how Putin could ever be extradited.
On Monday, China called on the ICC to avoid "double standards" and to respect the immunity of heads of state. China is also not a signatory to the Rome Statute, the United Nations treaty on the ICC.