Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday thanked his country's Asian allies and reassured them of his country's stability and unity during a virtual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, his first appearance at an international forum since the armed rebellion carried out by the paramilitary group Wagner last June.
Speaking at the organization's meeting in New Delhi, Putin said that "the Russian people are cohesive like never before."
"Russian political circles and society as a whole showed their solidarity and sense of responsibility for the fate of the homeland when they responded in the form of a united front to the attempted armed rebellion," he said.
Putin thanked OIC leaders for their "support" during the rebellion, saying: "I thank my colleagues in the SCO countries who have shown their support for the steps of the Russian leadership to protect the constitutional order and the lives and security of citizens."
He said Russia would stand up to Western pressure, sanctions and "provocations" over what Moscow calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine.
Established in 2001, the SCO is officially headquartered in Beijing, and its current summit is held via videoconference hosted by India, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the organization.
The summit officially endorsed Iran's full membership, joining Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.
The Islamic Republic has been an observer member of the organization since 2005, and its last attempt to join in 2020 failed due to Tajikistan's refusal at the time, but in September 2021 member states agreed to join Tehran.
SCO includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan and Iran (Anatolia)
On the other hand, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the OIC countries to "make efforts to maintain regional peace and ensure common security," and to "take the right path and strengthen their solidarity and common trust."
"Achieving long-term regional peace and stability is our shared responsibility," he stressed.
He also vowed that China would continue to "move on the right path of economic globalization, oppose protectionism and unilateral sanctions and expand national security concepts," in what appears to be an implicit reference to restrictive measures taken by Washington towards Beijing in trade areas, most notably modern technologies.
It is noteworthy that the Wagner militia, led by its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, carried out an armed rebellion late last month against the Russian military leadership, as the group's elements took control of military headquarters in the south of the country before heading towards Moscow.
The rebellion ended less than 24 hours later following mediation by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that halted the advance on Moscow in exchange for receiving Prigozhin in the neighbouring country and halted the prosecution of his operatives.