Russia reaffirms ties with former Soviet states and China

Russian President Vladimir Putin's administration is strengthening ties with former Soviet republics and China. This comes amid tensions between Russia and Western nations.

Putin delivered a speech at a forum of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union, which opened in Moscow on Wednesday. The Union consists of five former Soviet states -- Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.

Putin noted that some experts had predicted that Russia's economy would fall into a deep recession. But he said, "Nothing of the kind has happened or is happening now, and clearly will not happen at all."

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and the leaders of the four other countries were among the attendees.

Meanwhile, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Wednesday.

Mishustin said Russia and China are standing together against attempts by Western nations to use what he called illegal sanctions to maintain their influence on the world and impose their will on other countries.

Western nations have been showing that they are unified. At the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima, they announced that they will provide Ukraine with more military support.