A strongly-worded statement issued by the Chinese embassy in Russia to Russian officials marked a strident difference from the normally cordial relations between Moscow and Beijing.
Russian officers, the message claimed, denied five Chinese nationals the right to enter their country after “repeatedly” questioning them for “up to four hours”.
The incident, which took place on July 29, had “seriously damaged the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens”, the embassy said.
The Moscow-based embassy added the incident was “inconsistent with the overall situation of friendly Sino-Russian relations and the trend of increasingly close friendly exchanges of personnel between the two countries.”
It also said: “The Russian side is required to immediately find out the cause of the incident, take active measures to eliminate the bad influence, and ensure that similar incidents will not recur in the future.”
This public complaint clashes with the image of cooperation and support China and Russia have been fostering for years.
Just a few days before Russian troops crossed the Ukrainian borders, Beijing committed to a “no-limits partnership” with Moscow, which included a pledge by China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, that the ties between the two countries would “not succumb to pressure from third parties”.
China hasn’t condemned the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Rather, in March it shared its own 12-point peace plan with terms clearly favourable to Moscow.
China, which after the beginning of the Ukraine war has strengthened its economic ties with Russia, was among the attendees of the two-day summit held in Jeddah this weekend aiming at drafting key principles on how to end the war.
As the event came to a close, China was reported to be in support of a third round of talks to find a framework for peace in Ukraine.
Its special envoy for Eurasian affairs, Li Hu, said: “We have many disagreements and we have heard different positions, but it is important that our principles are shared.”
Ukraine‘s 10-point peace plan, drafted by its president Volodymyr Zelensky includes the withdrawal of Russia‘s troops from Ukraine and the establishment of a special tribunal to judge the crime of aggression against Kyiv.