Latest news about Russia and the war in Ukraine

11 minutes ago

Chinese President Xi Jinping lands in Russia

Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Russia, kicking off a three-day state visit. This was reported by the Russian state news agency TASS.

The TASS correspondent indicated that the Chinese leader’s plane landed at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport at around 12:59 Moscow time.

– Holly Ellytt

40 minutes ago

Putin offers “clarifications” on Russia’s position on Ukraine during Xi’s visit

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a meeting of the Federal Security Service in Moscow on February 28, 2023.

Gavril Grigorov | Sputnik | Reuters

The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin will provide Chinese President Xi Jinping with detailed “explanations” on Russia’s view on the conflict in Ukraine during Xi’s state visit to Russia that begins on Monday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said during a call with reporters that the two leaders would discuss issues in a peace plan for Ukraine proposed by Beijing last month.

“One way or another, the topics in this plan will inevitably be touched upon during the exchange of views on Ukraine” between Putin and Xi, Peskov said.

“But here, of course, President Putin will give comprehensive explanations, so that President Xi can get a direct view of the current moment from the Russian side.”

The Chinese 12-point paper, which called for dialogue between the two sides, did not include a roadmap for how to end the war, which is now in its 13th month. Ukraine cautiously welcomed this but the United States rejected it, given China’s refusal to condemn the Russian invasion.

Xi was scheduled to arrive in Moscow around 1030 London time and hold “informal” one-on-one talks with Putin on Monday afternoon, followed by dinner. Formal talks are scheduled for Tuesday.

Asked if China could become a mediator between Moscow and Washington, Peskov refused to answer directly.

“Right now, we see a continuous line to prevent any slowdown in hostilities. Washington, the State Department and the US National Security Council are talking about this publicly and officially,” he said.

Moscow accuses the United States and other Western countries of pouring weapons into Ukraine in order to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia. Washington and its allies say they are arming Ukraine to help it defend against unprovoked Russian invasion and empire-style territorial grabs.

Peskov said, “The United States adheres to its position aimed at further provoking the conflict and preventing any decrease in the intensity of hostilities and the injection of weapons into Ukraine.”

– Reuters

44 minutes ago

The UK says Russian forces are making “creeping gains” around Avdiivka in the Donbass

A Ukrainian soldier in a trench on the front line near Avdiivka in Donetsk region on June 18, 2022.

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Anatoly Stepanov | AFP | Getty Images

Over the past three weeks, Russian forces have made what the British Ministry of Defense has described as “creeping gains” around the Ukrainian-held town of Donbass, north of the city of Donetsk.

“The Russian operation was carried out largely by the 1st Army Corps of the Donetsk People’s Republic; local personnel who know the terrain well. Avdiivka has been on the front line of the Donbass conflict since 2014; the city is now largely destroyed,” the ministry noted in an intelligence update on Twitter. Monday.

It added, “The sprawling Avdiivka Coke Plant complex is likely to be seen as a key area that is particularly defensible as the battle progresses.”

The ministry noted that, tactically speaking, the situation is similar to the situation in the larger town of Bakhmut, farther north, where heavy fighting has been going on for months.

“Ukrainian forces continue an organized defense, but their supply lines to the west are increasingly threatened by the Russian encirclement,” the ministry said.

– Holly Ellytt

2 hours ago

The Russian Spring Offensive appears to be fading, says the ISW

A Ukrainian tank fires at Russian positions near Krymina, Luhansk, in January. Kremina is one of several areas where Russian forces have failed to achieve more than additional tactical gains, according to the Institute for International Studies.

Anatoly Stepanov | AFP | Getty Images

Russia’s long-awaited spring offensive against Ukraine may have reached its highest point, leaving Ukraine’s defenders “in a good position to regain the initiative and launch counterattacks,” according to research released late Sunday.

Washington-based Institute for the Study of War He said in a new evaluation Russia’s 2023 attacks yielded few gains and left Moscow planners desperate to reconfigure badly damaged military units.

The setbacks occurred despite the mobilization of 300,000 troops by Russia late last year expressly for the spring offensive.

“If 300,000 Russian troops are unable to give Russia a decisive offensive advantage in Ukraine, committing additional forces in future waves of mobilization is unlikely to lead to a significantly different outcome this year,” the research said.

CNBC is unable to independently verify the ISW’s assessment, though it is consistent with the analysis of others including that of the Ukrainian leaders. The Russian Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

ISW is a research firm whose majority of its board members are retired US military, diplomats, and political leaders.

– Ted Kemp

2 hours ago

Xi and Putin praised each other’s leadership as the state visit began

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have hailed each other’s leadership and alliance as Xi’s three-day state visit to Moscow begins Monday.

Xi praised Russia-China relations in an article published by several Russian and Chinese news agencies before the visit, and said that “the two countries adhere to an independent foreign policy and regard our relationship as a top priority in our diplomacy.”

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“Russia was the first country I visited after I was elected president 10 years ago. Over the past decade, I have made eight visits to Russia. Each time I came with high expectations and promised fruitful results, opening a new chapter for China-Russia relations with President Putin.”

Xi added that there is “clear historical logic and strong internal driving force for the growth of China-Russia relations,” which have come a long way in the past decade.

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to the Moscow Zoo in Russia on June 5, 2019. Xi is now on a three-day state visit to Russia.

Mikhail Svetlov | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Meanwhile, Putin said in an article that he considers President Xi a “good old friend” with whom he has developed “the warmest relations.”

Putin said Xi’s “significant” visit “reaffirms the special nature of the Russian-Chinese partnership, which has always been based on mutual trust, respect for each other’s sovereignty and interests,” in the comments. Posted on the Kremlin website In the Chinese People’s Daily.

The leaders are expected to discuss deepening Sino-Russian political and economic cooperation during the visit, with a number of unspecified bilateral agreements expected to be signed.

Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War Before the meeting, he said the presidents “will also likely discuss sanctions evasion schemes and China’s interests in brokering a negotiated settlement to the war in Ukraine.”

China called for a cease-fire in the war in Ukraine but refused to condemn Moscow’s unprovoked invasion.

– Holly Ellytt

3 hours ago

Putin visited the Russian-occupied port city of Mariupol

Russian President Vladimir Putin (shown here in a still from a video released by Russian broadcaster VGTRK on March 19, 2023) drives with Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khosnullin during his visit to the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

– | Afp | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the occupied city of Mariupol at the weekend, visiting several neighborhoods of the city that were largely destroyed by Russian forces earlier in the war.

In a carefully choreographed visit, Putin flew to the port city in southern Ukraine by helicopter before he was seen driving around, examining parts of the city and talking to locals. On Saturday, he was reported to have visited the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

While there, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khosnullin was seen reporting to Putin on construction work in the city, with the Kremlin issuing a statement noting that Putin was told to “construct new small residential areas, social and educational facilities, housing and communal service infrastructure and institutions.” medical”.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khosnullin look at illustrations of the reconstruction during a visit to the Ukrainian city of Mariupol on March 18, 2023.

– | Afp | Getty Images

The visit was viewed by the Kremlin as a show of defiance after the International Criminal Court on Friday issued an international arrest warrant for the Russian president over alleged war crimes committed during the invasion of Ukraine.

Kiev accuses Moscow of committing a number of war crimes in Mariupol, including the bombing of a theater in which hundreds of civilians were sheltering, as well as the bombing of a maternity hospital. Russia claimed that the Ukrainian Azov battalion had bombed the theater and said that Azov fighters were using the hospital as a base, despite evidence to the contrary.

After a prolonged, bloody siege between Russian forces and fighters from the Azov Battalion, who had barricaded themselves in the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, Ukrainian forces finally surrendered and Russia declared full control of the city in May.

Mykhailo Podolak, an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, criticized Putin’s surprise trip to Mariupol on Twitter, saying the president had come to “admire the city’s ruins” and that the visit showed “cynicism and a lack of remorse”.

– Holly Ellytt

3 hours ago

Xi visits his ally Putin in Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization leaders’ summit in Samarkand on September 16, 2022.

Sergey Popilov | AFP | Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping will make a historic three-day state visit to Moscow on Monday, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to shake up global relations between East and West.

China has become Russia’s most important ally in recent years, but Beijing has tried to avoid any overt show of support for Moscow’s ongoing war in Ukraine or – a “special military operation” – as Putin calls it, instead calling for a ceasefire and offering to broker a peace deal.

However, Xi’s visit to Moscow is considered a political coup for Putin, who appeared increasingly isolated on the world stage after an invasion of Ukraine that was not quite as simple as Moscow is thought to have expected.

Meanwhile, international sanctions have been piled on Russia, forcing it to look beyond its former trading partners in Asia for business. Last Friday, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin over alleged war crimes committed during the invasion of Ukraine.

– Holly Ellytt

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