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Chinese President Jinping congratulates Russian President Putin after presenting him with the Friendship Medal. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri - Pool/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin is on a state visit to China, which will include attending the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, June 9-10.

What we're hearing: Chinese President Xi Jinping awarded Putin the inaugural friendship medal of the People's Republic of China, and praised his "contribution and efforts to building a peaceful world."

According to the readout from China's state run news agency, Xinhua:

"The two leaders agreed that China and Russia should adhere to the concept of everlasting friendship and the spirit of strategic coordination ... No matter how international situations change, China and Russia always firmly support each other in defending their respective core interests ... Xi said."

They are also expected to discuss North Korea and the upcoming summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Trump.

Why it matters: Many Western observers dismiss the Xi-Putin bromance as a tenuous friendship that poses no real challenge to the West. There are many points of potential friction in the China-Russia relationship, but it is risky to dismiss this renewed friendship too quickly as both Xi and Putin see massive opportunities from Trump's approach to foreign relations.

Separately, Trump just said he wants Russia invited back into the G-7.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

WHO: Not yet known whether Omicron leads to more severe disease

Photo illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Sunday said that it is not yet clear whether the newly discovered Omicron variant is more transmissible than other strains of the COVID-19 virus.

Why it matters: The agency's statement comes as the variant, discovered in South Africa, has already been detected in European and Asian countries.

7 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems fear supply-chain blame

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As supply-chain kinks drive up prices and disrupt holiday shopping, Democrats are scrambling to show action and deflect blame.

Why it matters: With their party controlling both the White House and Capitol, vulnerable Democrats worry supply-chain snafus will hurt them in next year's midterms.