China, Russia 'coordinated positions' on Ukraine, says Chinese foreign ministry

FILE PHOTO: Russian President Putin meets with Chinese President Xi during their meeting on the sideline of the BRICS summit in Brasilia
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China and Russia coordinated their positions on Ukraine during a meeting between both countries' foreign ministers in Beijing on Thursday, according to a statement by the Chinese foreign ministry.

Ukraine says Russia has positioned 115,000 troops near its borders, stoking fears of a looming attack.

Moscow denies any such plan but international concern that Russia might be gearing up for war is running high. Russia has asked NATO to bar Ukraine from joining and to pull out of eastern Europe.

The United States and its allies have warned that an invasion would trigger tough sanctions and have rejected Russian's demands about NATO.

China expressed "understanding and support" for Russia's position on security regarding Russia's relationship with the United States and NATO, the statement said, after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

Both sides coordinated their positions on regional issues of common concern, such as Ukraine, Afghanistan and the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the statement said.

Two photos released by Chinese foreign ministry showed both men doing elbow bumps while masked. Before Lavrov, Beijing has not received foreign political guests for almost two years as it tries to keep the country's capital free of COVID-19.

Lavrov is in Beijing with President Vladimir Putin, who will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday before attending the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

(Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Editing by Peter Graff and Jonathan Oatis)