Analysis: As Russia raises nuclear specter in Ukraine, China looks the other way
It was "the most prudent, or most low-key statement in years" issued by Xi on their strategic relationship, Shi said.
Under Xi, China has forged ever closer ties with Russia.
Six days later, in a desperate escalation of the devastating war, Putin announced a "partial mobilization" of Russian citizens in a televised speech, and even raised the specter of using nuclear weapons.
To some Chinese analysts, Putin's setbacks and escalation of the war offered China an opportunity to tilt away from Russia -- a subtle shift that began with Xi's meeting with Putin.
What may be his fate in the battlefield is not a business manageable at all by China."
"My impression was that Beijing just wanted a little sliver of daylight between China and Russia, but I think many have over interpreted that," she said.
Both leaders share a deep suspicion and hostility toward the United States, which they believe is bent on holding China and Russia down.
"I don't think we saw a major schism open up between Russia and China," said Brian Hart, a fellow with the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
So far, Beijing has carefully avoided actions that would violate Western sanctions, such as providing direct military aid to Moscow.
According to the Chinese readout, Wang stressed that China would continue to "maintain its objective and impartial position" and "push for peace negotiations" on the issue of Ukraine.
But that "impartial position" was given away in the prime evening newscast on China's state broadcaster CCTV, the most-watched news program in China.
The main factor driving the strategic alignment between Russia and China is the perception of threats from the United States, said Hart with CSIS.