Russia denounces Macron for saying Moscow is becoming a Chinese ‘vassal’

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Russian officials denounced French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments Monday that Moscow was subservienting itself to China, saying Western countries must get used to a world backed by the Kremlin’s close ties to Beijing.

Russian criticism focused on an interview Macron gave to the Paris daily l’Opinion in which he denounced the isolation of the Kremlin caused by his invasion of Ukraine more than 14 months ago.

«(Russia) has entered a de facto form of vassalage with China and has lost access to the Baltic which was essential for it, as it precipitated the decision by Sweden and Finland to join NATO,» Macron said in the newspaper.

«This was unthinkable two years ago.»

The controversy appeared to center on talks in Moscow in March between Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, in which they said they were deepening their strategic partnership as they entered «a new era» of ties.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia’s relations with China were those of a strategic partner and had nothing to do with dependency.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said Paris had been concerned about Moscow’s strengthening relations with China and the changes that this implied for the world order.

«The West generally seems to fear the formation of a truly multilateral system of international relations before our eyes, one that includes several separate independent centers, particularly Russia and China,» Grushko wrote in a statement on the ministry’s website.

«Within this evolving world landscape, it is inevitable that E. Macron, along with other leaders in the West, will have to come to terms with the reality of strong, equitable and mutually respectful relations between Moscow and Beijing.»

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