Putin says Russia is more ‘open’ than other countries
The Russian President made his first-ever public reference to the possibility of a Russia-China military alliance during a meeting with domestic and foreign experts. He said that although Moscow does not need a military alliance with China, “theoretically, it is quite possible,” sparking international concern. Mr Ellwood believes this relationship will deepen over the next decade.
He told Express.co.uk: “Russia and China are not natural allies, but it’s because they have a common enemy now.
“Their troops are now exercising together so they are learning each other’s protocols and communicate with each other.
“I think what will happen is Russia will want to remain valued – its economy is the size of Italy and it is suffering because of its military budget.
“The only way it can sustain this is by somehow, over the next few decades, sliding in behind China.”
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Mr Ellwood, who is Conservative MP for Bournemouth East, says the only way to avoid the “grim” development would be if Putin is replaced.
He told Express.co.uk: “Russia cannot stand alone and it won’t join the West unless there is a big change and a successor is named for Putin.
“Then it may recognise that western Russia – St Petersburg – has had very strong ties with Europe for centuries.
“It could very well be that there is a change, but at the moment Putin has got the job for life and for our foreseeable future.
“The outlook looks rather grim and the worst-case scenario – the most likely case scenario – is that it falls in line with China.”
Mr Ellwood warned that the reliance between Beijing and Moscow could be “more” significant than anything seen during the Cold War.
He added: “There is now a dependence on each other, rather than just liking each other, because of trade, too.
“China is desperate for minerals and resources to keep it country going and build all the things it builds.
“Half of all the stuff in the world is now built in China – that’s a colossal statement.
“To make all that stuff it needs imports and Russia can provide an awful lot of that.”
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But some believe the real intention in the Kremlin is to check the incoming administration of US President-elect Joe Biden.
Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Centre, told Nikkei Asia: “Although Russia and China are unlikely to form a military alliance, Putin is expected to send a signal from time to time that the US should be aware of the possibility.
“If a further intensification of tensions between the US and China clearly divides the world into two blocs, Russia will have no other choice but to join the China-led camp and fall into a subordinate status, in effect.”
Mr Trenin added that “this scenario is absolutely unfavourable to Russia”.
Mr Biden is expected to be tough on Russia and China, imposing economic sanctions and demanding large concessions in a move that could push the two closer together.
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