“Putin is coming here to demand from Xi:  x, y, and z….” reported a correspondent from one of the 24-hour international news channels ahead of the Xi/Putin meeting in Uzbekistan

Demand? “Beg” might be a better word, except Putin doesn’t really do begging. Perhaps we can settle on “Ask”.

So, it’s reasonable to assume that at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) meeting in Samarkand he asked the Chinese President to buy more gas, oil, and coal. He will have asked Xi to keep paying in roubles and yuan to keep up the foreign reserves. He probably also asked if Xi could perhaps supply Russia with some replacements for the industrial scale of military equipment it has so carelessly lost these past six months. If so, the response will have been: “Yes, yes, and, not a hope in hell”.