President Putin. (AP)
The world waits with bated breath for any positive news out of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s three-day visit to Moscow beginning Monday. He may be meeting the war crimes accused Russian President Vladimir Putin, against whom an arrest warrant has been issued by the International Criminal Court, a body that Russia does not recognise, but then neither do the US, China and Ukraine.
The warrant itself holds little meaning as there is nil chance of Mr Putin putting himself anywhere in the vicinity of the 102 nations that recognise the ICC. It is just symbolic of the countless crimes committed in the 13 months the war has been raging in Ukraine after Russia’s invasion.
By a Ukrainian count, more than 73,000 war crimes have been committed by more than 600 Russians, of whom Mr Putin and his commissioner for children’s rights stand accused of illegally deporting around 16,000 Ukrainian children and placing them in institutions or foster homes in Russia.
Within hours of the announcement of Mr Xi’s visit came the news of the ICC warrant. Even so, it is only the Chinese President who wields a measure of influence over Mr Putin enough to beseech him to stop a war that his military has been unable to win, leading to the biggest stalemate in a war that has affected world peace as well as the global economy.
The West may view the Chinese peace initiatives, including the one that miraculously opened up avenues in erasing the hostility in the Saudi Arabia-Iran relationship, as China seeking global domination in Mr Xi Jinping’s historic third term.
The Chinese supremo may, however, view his association with Russia, which he placed on a "no limits" pedestal last year at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, as a golden opportunity to pursue his agenda for peace.
The West, now totally committed to aid the defence of Ukraine in the war with weapons and other assistance, may be cynical about Mr Xi’s motivation to act as the broker for peace. But there is no justification to the US putting down Mr Xi’s peace moves as "ratification of Russian conquest". All the world wants is for someone to tell Mr Putin to stop a war he started.