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Putin expects China's Xi to make state visit in spring

STORY: In introductory remarks from a video conference between the two leaders broadcast on state television, Putin said: "We are expecting you, dear Mr Chairman, dear friend, we are expecting you next spring on a state visit to Moscow."

Putin said the visit would "demonstrate to the world the closeness of Russian-Chinese relations."

Speaking for around eight minutes, Putin said Russia-China relations were growing in importance as a stabilizing factor, and that he aimed to deepen military cooperation between the two countries.

The relationship between Russia and China, which the two sides have hailed as a "no limits" partnership, has taken on great significance since Moscow sent its armed forces into Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Though Western countries imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia, China has refrained from condemning Moscow's military campaign, instead stressing the need for peace.