Russia and China showcased their deepening ties on Wednesday in a series of meetings in Moscow that were closely watched for signs that Beijing may offer stronger support to the Kremlin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin described international relations as “difficult” during his meeting with senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi.

Wang’s visit to Moscow just a few days before the first anniversary of the Ukrainian war is a strong message from Beijing to both Russia and the United States.

Wang was warmly welcomed by Putin, who said their countries have a common strategic interest in standing together on the world stage.

“Cooperation in the international arena between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, as we have repeatedly said, is very important for stabilizing the international situation,” Putin noted.

China has declined to criticize Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And Wang indicated that it would not be pressured by the United States to do so.

Relations between Russia and the West are at their lowest level since the Cold War, and ties between China and the United States are also under serious strain.

Moscow canceled its participation in its last remaining the Treaty on the Disarmament of Nuclear Weapons with Washington, known as START, on Tuesday.

The US and NATO have both expressed concern in recent days that China could provide arms and ammunition to Russia.

Beijing has denied the allegation and previously condemned Washington for supplying arms to Ukraine.

Before the meeting with Putin, Wang held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.