Russia wins China’s backing in NATO showdown over Ukraine

Russia won China’s backing in its showdown with the West over Ukraine as Beijing agreed with Moscow the US-led NATO military alliance should not admit new members.

The demand for NATO to stop expanding came after a  meeting between President Vladimir Putin and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing, in which the Russian leader hailed the two countries’ “dignified relationship”.

In a long strategy document, Moscow and Beijing hit out at what they said was Washington’s destabilising role in global security.

“The parties oppose the further expansion of NATO and call on the North Atlantic Alliance to abandon the ideological approaches of the Cold War era,” the document said, urging respect for the “sovereignty, security and interests of other countries”.

The call echoed demands from Russia at the centre of weeks of intensive negotiations between Moscow and the West, under the shadow of a potential conflict.

Western capitals have accused Russia of amassing some 100,000 troops on the borders of pro-Western Ukraine in preparation for an invasion, and have pledged to impose devastating sanctions on Moscow if it attacks.

Russia has denied any such plans.