Episode 52: Where are the Limits of Russia and China’s ‘No Limits’ Partnership?

Russia’s war in Ukraine has brought into focus the enduring links between Moscow and Beijing. How will this tandem shape the future of global competition?

Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin on the eve of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022, where they released a joint statement proclaiming their ‘no limits’ partnership. Three weeks later, Russia invaded Ukraine. Beijing has subsequently walked a careful and rather ambiguous line over the conflict, refusing to condemn the invasion and resisting Western pressure to isolate Russia on the one hand, while on the other hand appearing reluctant to provide Russia with the military assistance needed to tip the war in its favour.

Many observers suggest that one of the most significant outcomes of the war will be a closer but asymmetrical alliance between Moscow and Beijing, with Russia in a much-reduced position. In this episode, host Neil Melvin discusses with Emily Ferris, Research Fellow at RUSI, and Raffaello Pantucci, Senior Associate Fellow, how the war is affecting this bilateral relationship. Is China ready to back Russia financially and militarily? How deep is the trust between Moscow and Beijing?

The views or statements expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the podcast does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. Views and opinions expressed by RUSI employees are those of the employees and do not necessarily reflect the view of RUSI.


Dr Neil Melvin

Director, International Security

International Security

View profile

Emily Ferris

Senior Research Fellow, Russian and Eurasian Security

International Security

View profile

Raffaello Pantucci

Senior Associate Fellow

View profile


Explore our related content