As officials in Ukraine anxiously watch evolving diplomatic overtures between Moscow and Beijing, China’s top leader will host the president of Belarus — a staunch Kremlin ally — with the pomp of a state visit this week.

On Saturday, China announced the visit, to take place over three days starting Tuesday, for President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, who a year ago allowed Russian forces to use his country as a staging ground for their full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The presence in Beijing of such a close partner of President Vladimir Putin of Russia is likely to increase international attention, and pressure, over China’s straddling position on the war.

The announcement of Beijing’s latest high-profile official visitor comes a week after the U.S. accused China of considering sending lethal military assistance to Russia, a claim that Chinese officials have denied. If the Chinese send arms and ammunition to Moscow’s formations in eastern Ukraine, the supplies would come at a time when both sides are running low on much-needed artillery rounds.