Russia's Putin welcomes Chinese leader to twin summits, says they can solve problems together

UFA, Russia – Welcoming China’s leader to two summits in a Russian city, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russia and China can overcome their countries’ difficulties by working together.

Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping both arrived Wednesday in the Russian city of Ufa for summits of the BRICS trade group and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The BRICS group also includes Brazil, India and South Africa, while the SCO, which also focuses on regional security and political issues as well as economics, includes the former Soviet Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran, India and Pakistan are observer SCO participants.

The summits, held in a city 1,170 kilometres (725 miles) east of Moscow, come as both the Russian and Chinese economies are undergoing major strains. Russia’s economy has contracted and its currency has sunk due to the fall in world oil prices and Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

China, after a yearslong bull market, has seen its benchmark stock index drop 30 per cent in the past month.

“Combining efforts, no doubt we will overcome all the problems before us,” Putin said.

The Russian president held bilateral meetings with other leaders on Wednesday ahead of the BRICS summit opening Thursday and a meeting that day with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The two-day SCO summit also opens Thursday.

Alexei Ulyukaev, Russia’s minister of economic development, said financial aid to Greece won’t be discussed at the BRICS summit, and added that Greece has not asked for aid from Russia.

“Naturally, the situation in the eurozone will be discussed, the trigger for which is the problem of Greek debt, because the development of the situation in the eurozone creates risks for all the participants in BRICS,” he said, according to the RIA-Novosti news agency.