A Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-35 fighter. (Internet photo)
The crisis in Ukraine has strengthened Russia's strategic partnership with China, says Vassily Kashin from the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, according to Vedomosti, a Russian-language business daily.
China is currently the only nation on the UN Security Council to retain cordial relations with Russia after the latter moved its troops into Crimea, said Kashin. Even if the United States and other NATO countries do not impose sanctions against Russia, it will be very difficult for Moscow to continue normal economic relations with Western countries.
As Japan may become the only nation of the Group of Eight which will still seek cooperation with Russia, China's position as one of Russia's only trusted allies can be strengthened. Russia will seek to speed up its negotiations with China regarding both military and economic cooperation pacts, Kashin said, specifically suggesting that Moscow should sign contracts on the provision of natural gas and the sale of the Sukhoi Su-35 fighter to China before President Vladimir Putin embarks on a visit to Beijing in May.
To demonstrate Russia's sincerity towards China, Kashin believes that the advanced Su-35 fighters may be turned over to China earlier than expected. Russia may also launch more joint military exercises and even expand its military relationship with China, according to Kashin, who told Vedomosti that China may become the only beneficiary of the Ukraine crisis.