In an interview to Chinese state media, Putin praised the massive but loosely linked BRI projects. The gathering has also given Putin an opportunity to meet with other global leaders who have criticized the Western approach to Russia’s war against Ukraine. Orban, who has repeatedly criticized Western sanctions against Russia, noted that his country has remained eager to maintain ties with Russia. Putin said he and Xi would also discuss growing economic ties between Moscow and Beijing in energy, high-tech and financial industries. The Chinese and Soviets were Cold War rivals for influence among left-leaning states, but China and Russia have since partnered in the economic, military and diplomatic spheres.