Despite Putin’s attack on Ukraine, China still stands with Russia. But support is crumbling, as the G-20 summit in Bali shows. However, China despot Xi will not drop the Kremlin ruler. After all, business can also be done with a weakened Russia.

The mighty of the world are currently meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali under the banner of the “G-20 Summit”. This Tuesday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will also take part in the meetings of the heads of state and government. Meanwhile, Lavrov’s boss, Vladimir Putin, prefers to remain in Moscow.

The 72-year-old Lavrov acts quite isolated in Bali. In the West, Putin, his henchmen and puppets have long been considered outcasts. China, meanwhile, has not officially withdrawn its support from Russia. The world public is listening all the more closely to what the Chinese President Xi Jingping has said in relation to Russia. What remains particularly interesting is whether the final declaration names the Russian war of aggression and actually condemns it.

At least Lavrov was able to get hold of a handshake in front of photographers with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. What the two really had to say to each other is not known. Lavrov told Russia’s state news agency Tass that Russia and China maintained an “all-encompassing partnership and strategic cooperation.” The question of all questions, however, is: will China drop Russia?

“No, Xi will not drop Putin,” Stefan Meister from the German Council on Foreign Relations told FOCUS online. The expert on international politics also emphasizes how isolated Putin is now. Also because of the massive Western pressure on countries like China and India.

“Xi will not openly criticize Putin, but as at the Shanghai Organization summit, it is clear that Putin has been weakened by the defeats of the Russian military and his image has been tarnished,” Meister clarifies. The costs that the war creates are not popular in many parts of the world, and Putin is increasingly viewed critically. “China wants a weakened Russia to do business with, but not a Russian defeat.”

Russia expert Gerhard Mangott, Professor of International Relations at the University of Innsbruck, also makes it clear: “The exact wording of the final declaration, if it comes about, will make it clear how much China and India are willing to publicly deviate from the support they have shown so far move away from Russia,” said Mangott.

Whether in the diplomatic arena or in the theater of war, things are not going well for Putin at the moment. “With the withdrawal from the west bank of the Dnieper, Russia suffered a third major military defeat,” Mangott points out. “That made the criticism of right-wing nationalist forces in the country even louder.”

However, one should not overestimate these forces. There are no signs of a withdrawal movement in Putin’s immediate vicinity. “However, the question is being asked more and more frequently as to what price Russia should pay for a victory in Ukraine, and it is openly discussed that Russia’s military defeat cannot be ruled out,” said Mangott. However, Putin’s position and authority have not yet been undermined.

“Militarily, the Russian army needs a break to regenerate,” says Stefan Meister, classifying the situation. He also sees Putin massively weakened domestically in the event of further defeats. His image as a strong man suffered. “He can’t deliver,” said Meister. “Nevertheless, this war can last for a long time.” Meister currently does not see that Ukraine is recapturing further areas on a massive scale.

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Meanwhile, in a video address to the G-20, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy identified ten conditions for an end to the war, including restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity, it said.

Master political scientist: “Parts of it are certainly acceptable to Putin, but the complete withdrawal from Ukraine, including Crimea, and the condemnation of war crimes, which can also affect the top leadership, are not.”

Gerhard Mangott sees the willingness to reach a negotiated solution, which has recently been expressed several times, as an attempt not to give the world public the impression that Ukraine would refuse to negotiate. “However, Zelenskyi continues to set a condition for the start of negotiations that Russia cannot accept, namely the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from all of Ukraine.”

Putin wants to tighten control of the flow of funds to equip the army. Trenches in Crimea can be seen on satellite images. According to a US general, more than 100,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or injured in Ukraine so far. All current voices and developments on the Ukraine war can be found in the ticker.

After the recapture of Cherson, the question for military expert Mike Martin is not what Russia will do now – it is Ukraine’s turn for him. On Twitter he shows how the war could continue. His guess: Ukraine is targeting the “gravitational center of Putin’s credibility.”