Here is the situation as it stands on Friday, April 7, 2023:
- French President Emmanuel Macron, who is in Beijing, said he is counting on his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to “bring Russia to its senses” and end its war in Ukraine.
The European Union said foreign policy chief Josep Borrell will visit China from April 13-15.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarus’s Alexander Lukashenko discussed expanding economic cooperation and bolstering defence ties between their nations at a meeting in Moscow.
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov began a two-day visit to Turkey.
- Russian prosecutors requested a 25-year prison sentence for opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza who is on trial in a closed court on charges including treason.
- Russia’s refusal to give consular access to detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich is “inexcusable”, the White House said.
- Authorities in Russian-occupied areas of eastern Ukraine said a total of seven civilians were killed on Thursday in two separate Ukrainian artillery attacks.
- The head of Russia’s Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said Ukrainian forces were not leaving the city of Bakhmut and that he needs more support from Russia’s regular military to advance further.
- Andriy Sybiha, the deputy head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office, told the United Kingdom’s Financial Times that Kyiv would be willing to discuss the future of Crimea with Moscow if Ukraine’s counteroffensive were to reach the peninsula. But Ukraine’s presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak later appeared to contradict those remarks saying there would be no talks with Moscow about territory until Russia withdraws all its troops.
Kyiv’s plans to retake territories occupied by Russia are closely guarded, with few people aware of the location and timing of a planned “spring” offensive, Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said in a radio interview.
Military aid and weapons
- Athens has pledged military assistance to Ukraine for “as long as it takes” but officials also cautioned that Greece needs to keep much of its Russian-made weaponry for its own defensive needs.
- A European Union plan to send 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine is being held up as member states argue over how far spending for the plan will stay within the EU, officials said.
- Ukraine and Poland agreed on the joint production of 125mm-calibre tank shells, Ukraine’s state arms producer announced a day after Zelenskyy visited Poland.
- A Ukrainian air commander said Kyiv is in dire need of F-16 fighter jets, which he described as “four or five times” more effective than the Soviet-era MiG-29 planes the country is currently using.