Mr. Wang met with Western officials, including Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, at the Munich conference last weekend, and promised that China would try to use diplomacy to end the war in Ukraine. But the televised portion of Mr. Wang’s meeting with Mr. Patrushev focused on Russia and China’s bilateral ties.
Mr. Patrushev told Mr. Wang that both nations were under pressure from “the collective West,” so that their deepening cooperation “is taking on special significance.” Mr. Wang said that Russia and China should “develop new steps of strategic cooperation in accordance with the changing situation.”
Mr. Wang will hold more meetings in Moscow on Wednesday, and the Kremlin has hinted at a meeting with Mr. Putin.
In Mr. Putin’s speech on Tuesday, the only major revelation was that he would not allow U.S. inspections to verify compliance with New START, a nuclear arms control treaty that is set to expire in three years. He did not signal any major change in how he would wage the war in Ukraine: There was no official declaration of war, no announcement of a new draft, and no new threat of using nuclear weapons.
Instead, Mr. Putin’s main underlying message was that Russians, and implicitly the Western coalition that opposes him, must prepare for the war — which he continued to call a “special military operation” — to last for years.
“We will solve the tasks before us step by step, carefully and consistently,” he said. Claiming that the West was trying to “shift a local conflict into a phase of global confrontation,” he pledged that “we will respond accordingly.” The more long-range weapons the West delivers to Ukraine, he said, “the farther we will be forced to move the threat from our borders.”
The confident picture presented by Mr. Putin drew plenty of applause from the ruling elites — regional officials, lawmakers, Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church — gathered in a hall across Red Square from the Kremlin. It ignored Russia’s repeated setbacks at the front and its bloody, slow-moving efforts to eke out territorial gains in eastern Ukraine.