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Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

42 Mins Ago

China’s Xi invites Putin to visit China this year

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 20, 2023. Xi said he’s invited Putin to visit China this year, Russian news agencies reported Tuesday.

Sergei Karpukhin | Sputnik | via Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping said Tuesday that he’s invited his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to visit China this year, Russian news agencies reported Tuesday.

“I yesterday invited President Putin to pay a visit to China this year at a convenient time for him, as this year China will host the third international forum under the Belt and Road Initiative. President Putin took part in the previous two forums,” Xi said, in comments reported by Russian state news agency Tass.

Xi also invited Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, with whom he held talks on Tuesday morning, to visit China as soon as possible, news agency RIA Novosti reported. Mishustin reportedly told Xi earlier today that he was grateful for “the great personal attention that you pay to the development of friendship and partnership between Russia and China.”

Xi is expected to hold further talks with Putin on Tuesday afternoon, with the leaders expected to sign a joint statement on deepening their strategic cooperation, and possibly other deals designed to extend their economic ties.

— Holly Ellyatt

2 Hours Ago

Xi-Putin summit: What to expect on Day 2

It’s the second day of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Moscow. Xi and his host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, are expected to hold more talks today and to sign a number of bilateral agreements.

The presidents reportedly held talks for at least four hours on Monday. Deepening strategic cooperation and the war in Ukraine, and finding a peaceful solution to the conflict, are on the official agenda for discussions.

Analysts will be watching closely for statements and any deals that could be signed today to gauge the degree of cooperation and closeness that the leaders have forged during this meeting.

Before the summit, Putin’s assistant, Yuri Ushakov, said Putin and Xi would make a joint statement on their “comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation entering a new era,” and then the leaders would also sign a “joint statement on the plan for the development of key areas of Russian-Chinese economic cooperation up to 2030.”

“In addition to these two documents, there are many more documents in completely different areas of cooperation – over 10 documents, which are in varying degrees of readiness and will be signed, as they say, on the sidelines of the visit,” Ushakov said, according to a report by Russia state news agency Tass.

Ukraine has been noticeably tight-lipped about the Sino-Russian summit ahead of a rumored virtual meeting between Xi and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

— Holly Ellyatt

7 Hours Ago

Japan says Kishida to visit Ukraine, hold talks with Zelenskyy

Japan’s foreign ministry confirmed that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is visiting Ukraine.

“As the G-7 [chair], Prime Minister Kishida will directly convey our solidarity and unwavering support for Ukraine,” a statement from the ministry said.

Kishida will visit Poland on Wednesday after his trip and return to Japan on Thursday, the ministry said.

Japan’s prime minister left India after meeting his counterpart there, Narendra Modi. The two leaders discussed stronger ties between their countries — both of them democracies — in the face of rising assertiveness from China in the Indo-Pacific region.

Last month, Ukraine’s ambassador to Japan told CNBC he was optimistic Kishida would visit Ukraine before hosting the G-7 Summit in Hiroshima in May.

– Jihye Lee

12 Hours Ago

UK hosts international meeting on supporting Ukraine during war crime investigations

One person died and several others were injured after a Russian missile attack on the centre of Kramatorsk, Ukraine on March 14. (Photo by Ignacio Marin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Ignacio Marin | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The U.K. held a meeting with more than 40 nations to discuss ways to provide extra support for war crimes investigations in Ukraine, according to a British readout.

The meeting was hosted by U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab and the Netherlands Minister for Justice and Security Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius.

Ahead of the meeting, the U.K. proposed funding to offer mental health care for witnesses of war crimes, send U.K. experts to train International Criminal Court investigators and help those ICC workers gather evidence of potential crimes.

The meeting follows ICC’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over potential crimes in Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

13 Hours Ago

White House spokesman says Putin and Xi are in a ‘marriage of convenience’

White House national security spokesman John Kirby called Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s relationship an alliance based on shared global interests as opposed to true friendship.

“It’s a marriage of convenience rather than of affection,” Kirby said of Putin and Xi.

Xi dined with Putin at the Kremlin on Monday as part of a three-day visit to Moscow. Beijing has yet to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but has not sent Russia military support, either.

Asked whether the two countries see one another on equal footing, Kirby said: “In terms of that relationship, they truly are their genuine partner.”

Emma Kinery

14 Hours Ago

Zelenskyy thanks EU, U.S. for new arms packages

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signaled Kyiv is preparing its soldiers for counteroffensives and praised soldiers for defending the country despite the “insane pressure” Russian forces have been putting on them.

Julien De Rosa | Pool | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the European Union and United States for fresh arms packages, as the Ukrainian military tries to repel a fierce Russian onslaught in the eastern part of the country.

He said a 2 billion euro EU plan to bolster Ukraine’s ammunition stores will help with “both immediate supply and production of ammunition,” according to an NBC translation of his Telegram post.

Zelenskyy also noted that a $350 million U.S. aid package includes “everything that is really necessary to support our soldiers” in Ukraine.

— Jacob Pramuk

16 Hours Ago

Wagner mercenary group says its forces control about 70% of besieged Bakhmut, but warns of upcoming Ukrainian counteroffensive

Visitors in military camouflage stand at the entrance of the “PMC Wagner Centre,” associated with the founder of the Wagner private military group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, during the official opening of the office block on the National Unity Day, in St. Petersburg, on Nov. 4, 2022.

Olga Maltseva | Afp | Getty Images

The Wagner Group said that its forces control nearly 70% of Bakhmut and will continue to fight until all of the city is captured.

The Russian mercenary group also said that Ukrainian forces were preparing to launch a “large-scale offensive.”

“At the end of March-beginning of April the enemy plans to launch a large-scale offensive and deliver flank cut-off strikes in order to cut off Wagner PMC units from the main forces of the Russian Armed Forces,” Wagner said on its official Telegram channel, according to an NBC News translation.

In a separate letter published to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin warned that Ukraine’s counter-offensive could lead to “negative consequences” for Russia.

— Amanda Macias

20 Hours Ago

Putin and Xi meet, calling one another a ‘dear friend’

In this grab taken from video, China’s President Xi Jinping, left, speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 20, 2023.

Russian Pool via AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin has met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Moscow Monday with both leaders exchanging pleasantries ahead of talks on Ukraine and extending cooperation between the nations.

As the two leaders met for an informal meeting before talks begin behind closed doors, Putin called Xi his “dear friend” as he welcomed him to Russia. He also praised China’s growth under Xi’s leadership, saying Russia was “slightly envious” of China’s swift development, in comments reported by Reuters.

Putin said China had taken a “balanced approach” to the international situation and said the leaders would discuss recent suggestions by China to find a peaceful solution to the war in Ukraine.

For his part, President Xi responded that Putin was also his “dear friend” and said he was pleased to be in Moscow for talks.

—  Holly Ellyatt

16 Hours Ago

Putin-Xi talks are ongoing after four hours, Russian state media says

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 20, 2023.

Sergei Karpukhin | Sputnik | Via Reuters

Talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping were ongoing after four hours, Russian state media said, according to an NBC News translation.

The discussions are part of Xi’s three-day state visit to Russia. The leaders were expected to talk about strengthening economic and political ties, as Ukraine and its allies watch whether China will move to provide military support to Moscow.

— Jacob Pramuk

3 Hours Ago

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