Latest news about the war in Russia and Ukraine

16 minutes ago

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Russia

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Russia on a three-day state visit. Russian state news agency TASS reported.

A TASS reporter noted that the Chinese leader’s plane landed at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport at 12:59 Moscow time.

– Holly Elliott

45 minutes ago

Putin to ‘clarify’ Russia’s position on Ukraine during Xi visit

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

Gavriil Grigorov Sputnik | Reuters

Chinese President Vladimir Putin will provide detailed “clarifications” on Russia’s view of the Ukraine conflict during Xi’s visit to Russia starting Monday, the Kremlin said.

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

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

“But here, of course, thorough clarifications will be provided by President Putin so that President Xi can get a first-hand view of the current moment from the Russian side.”

China’s 12-point paper, which called for talks between the two sides, now in its 13th month has provided no guidance on how to end the war. Ukraine greeted it with caution, but the US rebuffed China’s refusal to condemn Russia’s invasion.

Xi is due to arrive in Moscow at 1030 London time and will hold “informal” talks with Putin on Monday afternoon, followed by dinner. The formal talks are scheduled to take place on Tuesday.

Asked whether China could become an intermediary between Moscow and Washington, Peskov declined to answer directly.

“For now, we see a continuation that prevents any slowdown in the wars. Washington, the State Department and the US National Security Council are talking openly and authoritatively about this,” he said.

Moscow accuses the US and other Western countries of supplying weapons to Ukraine to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia. Washington and its allies say they are helping to defend Ukraine against unprovoked Russian invasion and imperialist-style land grabs.

“The United States is sticking to its position, which is aimed at further inflaming the conflict, preventing the de-escalation of hostilities and sending weapons into Ukraine,” Peskov said.

– Reuters

49 minutes ago

UK says Russian forces are making ‘creeping gains’ around Avdiivka in Donbass

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

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Anatoly Stepanov | AFP | Good pictures

Over the past three weeks, Russian forces have made what Britain’s Ministry of Defense described as “creeping gains” around the Ukrainian-held Donbass city of Avdiivka, immediately north of Donetsk.

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

“The sprawling Avdivka coke plant complex may be seen as a particularly salient terrain to defend as the war progresses,” it added.

Tactically, the ministry noted, the situation is similar to that in Bagmut, a major city far to the north, where fighting has raged for months.

“Ukrainian forces continue to maintain organized security, but their supply lines to the west are increasingly threatened by Russian freezing operations,” the ministry said.

– Holly Elliott

3 hours before

Russia’s spring offensive appears to be unfolding, ISW says

In January, a Ukrainian tank opened fire on Russian positions near Kreminna, Luhansk. According to ISW, Greminna is one of several areas where Russian troops have “failed to make more than incremental tactical gains”.

Anatoly Stepanov | AFP | Good pictures

Russia’s much-anticipated spring offensive against Ukraine has reached its high-water mark, with Ukraine’s defenders “well positioned to regain the initiative and launch counterattacks,” according to research published late Sunday.

A Washington-based war research institute A new assessment said Russia’s 2023 attacks yielded few gains and Moscow planners were desperate to reorganize hard-hit military units.

The setbacks come despite the mobilization of 300,000 troops by Russia late last year for an apparent spring offensive.

“Unless 300,000 Russian soldiers can provide Russia with a decisive offensive front in Ukraine, it is highly unlikely that the commitment of additional forces in future mobilization waves will produce dramatically different outcomes this year,” the research said.

CNBC could not independently verify ISW’s assessment, although it is consistent with analyzes by others, including Ukrainian commanders. Russia’s Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.

ISW is a research organization whose board members are mostly retired US military personnel, diplomats and political leaders.

– Ted Kemp

2 hours ago

Xi and Putin praised each other’s leadership

Xi begins a three-day state visit to Moscow on Monday, with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin praising each other’s leadership and their countries’ alliance.

Hailing Russia-China relations in an article published by several Russian and Chinese news outlets ahead of the trip, Xi said, “Both countries uphold an independent foreign policy and regard our relationship as a high priority in our diplomacy.”

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

Xi added that there is a “clear historical logic and strong internal driving force for the development of China-Russia relations” over the past decade.

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

Mikhail Svetlov | Getty Images News | Good pictures

Putin, meanwhile, said in an essay that he considered President Xi a “good old friend” with whom he had developed a “nice relationship.”

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

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

Analysts at the War Research Institute Ahead of the meeting the presidents said they were “likely to discuss sanctions evasion plans and Chinese interest in mediating a negotiated solution to the war in Ukraine.”

China has called for a ceasefire in Ukraine but has refused to condemn Moscow’s unprovoked invasion.

– Holly Elliott

3 hours before

Putin visited the Russian-occupied port city of Mariupol

Russian President Vladimir Putin (seen in a video taken from a video released by Russian broadcaster VGTRK on March 19, 2023) accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khuznulin during a visit to the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

– | Afp | Good pictures

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the occupied city of Mariupol over the weekend, visiting several districts of the city that were heavily destroyed by Russian forces earlier in the war.

In a carefully choreographed visit, Putin traveled by helicopter to the port city in southern Ukraine, before driving and inspecting parts of the city and talking to locals. On Saturday, he reportedly visited Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.

There, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Kuznulin was seen reporting to Putin on construction work in the city, the Kremlin said in a statement, “Putin was informed about the construction of new residential microdistricts, social and educational facilities, housing and communal services. Infrastructure and medical institutions.”

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

– | Afp | Good pictures

The visit was seen as an affront to the Kremlin after the International Criminal Court on Friday issued an international arrest warrant for the Russian president over alleged war crimes during the invasion of Ukraine.

Kiev accuses Moscow of committing several war crimes in Mariupol, including the bombing of a theater where hundreds of civilians had taken refuge and shelling of a maternity hospital. Russia said the theater was bombed by Ukraine’s Azov battalion, despite evidence to the contrary, saying the hospital was being used as a base by Azov militias.

After a prolonged and bloody siege between Russian forces and fighters from the Azov Battalion, who had stationed themselves at the Azovstal Steelworks in Mariupol, Ukraine’s forces finally surrendered and Russia declared full control of the city in May.

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

– Holly Elliott

3 hours before

China’s Xi meets ally Putin in Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Leaders’ Summit in Samarkand on September 16, 2022.

Sergei Babiliov | AFP | Good pictures

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

China has become Russia’s most important ally in recent years, but Beijing has sought to avoid overtly expressing support for Moscow’s ongoing war in Ukraine, or – “special military action” – as Putin calls it, instead calling for a ceasefire. To broker a peace deal.

Xi’s visit to Moscow is a political coup for Putin, who has become increasingly isolated on the world stage following his invasion of Ukraine, which has not gone as smoothly as Moscow had hoped.

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

– Holly Elliott

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