- 21 Mar 2023 - 20:34(20:34 GMT)
US to deliver Abrams tanks to Ukraine by autumn
The US will deliver Abrams tanks to Ukraine by autumn – significantly faster than expected – while Patriot air defence missile systems will also arrive on an “expedited timeline”, the Pentagon says.
In coordination with Kyiv, Washington “made the decision to provide the M1A1 variant of the Abrams tank” already in its arsenals instead of having new tanks built, Brigadier General Pat Ryder told journalists.
This “will enable us to significantly expedite delivery timelines and deliver this important capability to Ukraine by the fall of this year”.
“We’re confident that we’ll be able to get the Patriots there on an expedited timeline,” Ryder said, noting that training for Ukrainians on the system “went faster than expected, just given their propensity and their eagerness to do the training”.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 20:16(20:16 GMT)
US’s John Kirby: China not ‘impartial’ in Ukraine conflict
The administration of United States President Joe Biden has said in a news conference on Tuesday that China cannot be considered “impartial” in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking at a news conference, US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby avoided calling China’s relationship with Russia an alliance, instead describing it as a “marriage of convenience” for the countries’ two leaders, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin.
“In President Putin and Russia, President Xi sees a counterweight to American influence and NATO influence certainly on the continent and elsewhere around the world,” Kirby said.
“In President Xi, President Putin sees a potential backer here. This is a man who doesn’t have a whole lot of friends on the international stage.”
Still, Kirby denounced China’s unwillingness to condemn the Russian invasion, accusing President Xi of “parroting the Russian propaganda that this is somehow a war of the West on Russia”.
“That’s just a bunch of malarkey,” Kirby added.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 20:03(20:03 GMT)
US permanent army base in Poland sign of NATO unity against Russia: Warsaw
The US has inaugurated its first permanent army base in Poland, which the ambassador to Warsaw said was a sign of NATO unity in the face of Russian aggression.
More than 10,000 US soldiers are currently stationed in Poland, which has become the main transit country for international aid and equipment to neighbour Ukraine.
The US garrison – the eighth in Europe – was established in the western city of Poznan.
“This is historic. And it signals that we are here to stay,” Mark Brzezinski, the US ambassador, said at the inauguration ceremony.
“It signals to the world that the United States is committed to Poland, and to the NATO alliance. That we are united in the face of Russian aggression,” he added.
Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said, “We highly appreciate the permanent US presence in Poland, especially nowadays in Europe when Russia has invaded Ukraine and is trying to rebuild its empire.”
- 21 Mar 2023 - 19:51(19:51 GMT)
In letter, US Republican lawmakers urge Biden to send cluster bombs to Ukraine
Four Republican members of the United States Congress have urged US President Joe Biden to send cluster munitions to Ukraine, alleging in a letter to the White House that the administration fears doing so would be seen as an escalation by Russia.
Ukraine is seeking the MK 20, an air-delivered cluster bomb, to release its individual explosives from drones, and 155mm artillery cluster shells. Kyiv had urged members of Congress to press the White House to approve sending the weapons.
The letter criticised Biden for “reluctance to provide Ukraine the right type and amount of long-range fires and maneuver capability to create” a breakthrough against Russian forces.
The letter was signed by Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee; Mike McCaul, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; and Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 19:26(19:26 GMT)
Putin, Xi agree on gas pipeline connecting Siberia to northwest China
Russia and China have reached an agreement on the Power of Siberia 2 gas pipeline, which will connect Siberia to northwest China, President Vladimir Putin has said following talks with China’s leader Xi Jinping.
“All agreements have been reached,” Putin said after talks with Xi, adding that economic cooperation between Moscow-Beijing was a “priority” for Russia.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 19:06(19:06 GMT)
Zelenskyy confirms he will join G7 summit in Japan via video link
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has confirmed he will participate in the upcoming Group of Seven (G7) summit in Japan via video link.
“I accepted the prime minister’s invitation and will participate in the G7 summit in Hiroshima in an online format,” Zelenskyy said during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
Japan is due to host a G7 summit in Kishida’s hometown of Hiroshima in May. Tokyo has continually voiced support for Ukraine and joined sanctions against Russia.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 18:48(18:48 GMT)
Russian security forces target Nobel Prize-winning rights group in mass raids
Russian security forces raided the homes of former employees of the Nobel Prize-winning human rights group Memorial and took some of them in for questioning, the group has said.
Founded to document political repression in the Soviet Union, Memorial was officially banned in late 2021 after the authorities claimed it supported terrorism and extremism, charges that it called absurd.
Since invading Ukraine in February 2022, President Vladimir Putin has accelerated Russia’s drive to suppress dissenting voices, including independent media, non-governmental rights groups and political opponents.
Memorial chairman Yan Rachinsky, who collected the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the group when it won in 2022, was also subject to a raid on his home, the group said.
The raids were condemned by rights groups internationally, as well as what remains of Russia’s domestic opposition.
“By raiding the homes of members of Memorial, the Russian authorities are continuing their witch hunt against human rights defenders and activists,” Amnesty International’s Russia Director Natalia Zviagina said in a statement.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 18:31(18:31 GMT)
Kyiv has proposed that China join Ukrainian peace formula: Zelenskyy
Kyiv suggested to China that Beijing join a Ukrainian peace formula to end Russia’s war, but that it was still waiting for an answer, according to Zelenskyy.
The Ukrainian president made the remark during a joint briefing in Kyiv with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
Beijing has proposed a 12-point peace proposal, but Kyiv insists on a full Russian troop withdrawal and has been promoting its own plan in recent months.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 18:16(18:16 GMT)
NATO chief urges member states to boost defence spending
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has urged member countries to speed up increases in defence spending as Russia’s war in Ukraine continues and as new figures showed fewer than a quarter of them meeting the alliance’s target.
Stoltenberg said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year showed the world had become more dangerous, and NATO allies had to respond by setting and meeting more ambitious military spending goals.
Only seven of the alliance’s 30 countries met the current goal of spending 2 percent of GDP on defence in 2022, according to estimates in the NATO secretary-general’s annual report, released on Tuesday.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 18:05(18:05 GMT)
What Putin, Xi statement says about Ukraine
Russia and China have issued a joint statement after talks between Putin and Xi. Here is the section of the statement that relates to the war in Ukraine as translated by Reuters:
“The Russian side positively assesses the objective and unbiased position of the Chinese side on the Ukrainian question. The parties are opposed to any states and their blocs damaging the legitimate security interests of other states in order to obtain military, political and other advantages. The Chinese side positively assesses the willingness of the Russian side to make efforts to restart peace talks as soon as possible.
“Russia welcomes China’s readiness to play a positive role in a political-diplomatic settlement of the Ukrainian crisis and the constructive ideas set forth in the document drawn up by the Chinese side, ‘China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukrainian Crisis’.
“The parties note that in order to resolve the Ukrainian crisis, it is necessary to respect the legitimate concerns of all countries in the field of security and prevent the formation of bloc confrontation and halt actions that further fuel the conflict.
“The parties stress that responsible dialogue is the best way for a sustainable resolution of the Ukrainian crisis, and the international community should support constructive efforts in this regard.
“The parties call for an end to all steps that contribute to the escalation of tension and prolongation of hostilities to avoid further degradation of the crisis to the point where it could cross over into an uncontrollable phase. The parties oppose all unilateral sanctions imposed in circumvention of the UN Security Council.”
- 21 Mar 2023 - 17:48(17:48 GMT)
Japan’s Fumio Kishida meets Zelenskyy in rare visit to Kyiv
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has met Zelenskyy in a rare visit to Kyiv by a Japanese leader that underscores Tokyo’s support for Ukraine as it fights Russia’s offensive.
Kishida had been the only leader of a Group of Seven (G7) nation who had not visited Ukraine, which has seen an outpouring of popular support in Japan following the full-scale Russian invasion more than a year ago.
Kishida toured the town of Bucha outside Kyiv, where the mayor has said more than 400 civilians were killed last year by Russian forces and which has since become synonymous with Russian brutality during the war.
He laid a wreath outside a church there before observing a moment of silence and bowing.
Japan is due to host a G7 summit in Kishida’s hometown of Hiroshima in May.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 17:34(17:34 GMT)
Putin, Xi caution against turning Ukraine into “uncontrollable” crisis
Putin and his Chinese counterpart have cautioned against any steps that might push the Ukraine conflict into an “uncontrollable phase”, adding that there could be no winners in a nuclear war.
In a joint statement issued at the end of Xi’s state visit to Moscow, Putin accused Western powers of fighting “to the last Ukrainian”, while Xi reiterated China’s “neutral position” on Ukraine and called for dialogue.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 17:19(17:19 GMT)
US pushes back on Russian demands to ease Western sanctions
The US has pushed back on Russian demands that Western sanctions be eased before it allows Ukrainian Black Sea grain exports beyond mid-May, saying there are no restrictions on sales of Russian agricultural products or fertiliser.
Moscow’s demands include allowing the Russian Agricultural Bank to return to the SWIFT banking system and unblocking the accounts and financial activities of Russian fertiliser companies.
The deal allowing the safe wartime export of Ukrainian grain from its Black Sea ports, initially brokered in July by Turkey and the United Nations, was renewed on Saturday for at least 60 days, half the intended period.
The US strongly supports UN efforts to get Ukrainian and Russian agricultural products to world markets, a Department of State spokesperson said, adding that it has “gone to extraordinary lengths to clarify that we have carved food and fertiliser out from our sanctions imposed on Russia”.
“The only prohibitions on food and fertiliser exports from Russia are those imposed by the government of the Russian Federation,” the spokesperson said. “Russia is the one restricting its exports. It imposed export quotas on certain fertilisers and recently extended them through the spring.”
- 21 Mar 2023 - 16:57(16:57 GMT)
Russia’s Shoigu says fewer steps before ‘nuclear collision’
Russia has condemned British plans to send ammunition that contains depleted uranium to Ukraine, a move Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu says leaves fewer and fewer steps before a potential “nuclear collision” between Russia and the West.
“Another step has been taken, and there are fewer and fewer left,” Shoigu said in remarks reported by domestic news agencies.
On Monday, British Minister of State for Defence Annabel Goldie said some of the ammunition for Challenger 2 battle tanks includes armour-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium.
This type of ammunition is a health risk around impact sites, where dust can enter people’s lungs and other organs.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 16:28(16:28 GMT)
Beijing has an ‘impartial position’ on Ukraine crisis
Chinese President Xi Jinping said that Beijing had an “impartial position” on the conflict in Ukraine and that it supported peace and dialogue, RIA news agency said.
Xi, who was speaking through a translator after talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, said talks with the Kremlin leader had been “open and friendly”.
Putin said China’s peace proposals could be used as the basis for peace negotiations.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 15:59(15:59 GMT)
Xi, Putin stress ‘responsible dialogue’ to resolve Ukraine crisis
China’s state media report that Xi and Putin stress that “responsible dialogue” is the best way to resolve the Ukraine crisis.
The Russian side reaffirmed its commitment to resuming peace talks after the conclusion of discussions between Xi and Putin in Moscow.
The two sides pointed out that to resolve the Ukraine crisis, all countries’ “legitimate security concerns” must be respected and confrontation should be avoided.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 15:48(15:48 GMT)
British FA invites Ukrainian refugees to attend England’s Euro 2024 game
The Football Association in the United Kingdom invited more than 1,000 Ukrainian refugees and their host families to attend England’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
Sports Minister Stuart Andrew said, “Over the past year, the UK has stood shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine.”
“Thousands of people have played their part by generously welcoming Ukrainians into their homes. We continue to do all we can to support all those displaced because of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s illegal war.
“This Euro 2024 qualifier will be a poignant and emotional occasion and I applaud the FA and the team at Wembley Stadium for their kind gesture.”
The invitations have been made to people involved in the British government’s Homes for Ukraine Scheme, launched last year.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 15:30(15:30 GMT)
Russia slams UK plan to send depleted uranium ammo to Kyiv
Russia’s foreign ministry condemned a British plan to send ammunition that contains depleted uranium for use in Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Telegram, “Yugoslav scenario. These shells not only kill, but infect the environment and cause oncology in people living on these lands.
“By the way, it is naive to believe that only those against whom all this will be used will become victims. In Yugoslavia, NATO soldiers, in particular the Italians, were the first to suffer. Then they tried for a long time to get compensation from NATO for lost health. But their claims were denied,” she said.
Zakharova added, “When will they wake up in Ukraine? […] Their benefactors poison them.”
- 21 Mar 2023 - 15:06(15:06 GMT)
Russia ready to help Chinese businesses replace Western firms that left: Putin
Putin says Russia is ready to help Chinese businesses replace Western firms that have left Russia over the war in Ukraine during formal talks with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.
The Russian president also said he had discussed the proposed Power of Siberia 2 pipeline, which would ship Russian gas to China, with the Chinese leader.
Xi also said in the meeting that he wanted to “strengthen coordination and cooperation with Russia”.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 14:59(14:59 GMT)
Ukraine votes to increase military spending budget
The Ukrainian parliament voted to amend the 2023 state budget, raising spending as Kyiv seeks additional funds for arms and military salaries amid Russia’s invasion.
The finance ministry said that lawmakers voted to increase budget spending by 537.2 billion hryvnias ($14.6bn) this year.
“In line with the proposed changes, total funds for the security and defence sector will reach 1.67 trillion hryvnias [$45.2bn]. That’s 26.6 percent of GDP,” Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko said.
“Approval of the draft law will allow Ukraine to continue to counter Russia’s armed aggression effectively.”
Government officials have previously said Ukraine spent 1.48 trillion hryvnias [$40.1bn] on its defence sector last year.
The ministry said 518.2 billion hryvnias ($14bn) would go towards military wages and special equipment, including drones.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 14:16(14:16 GMT)
NATO chief warns China against supplying Russia with weapons
NATO’s Jens Stoltenberg warned China against supplying weapons to Russia as leaders of both countries continue talks in Moscow.
“We haven’t seen any proof that China is delivering lethal weapons to Russia, but we have seen some signs that this has been a request from Russia, and that this is an issue that is considered in Beijing by the Chinese authorities,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.
“China should not provide lethal aid to Russia that would be to support an illegal war.”
- 21 Mar 2023 - 13:58(13:58 GMT)
Seven out of 30 NATO allies met military spending target: Stoltenberg
Seven out of 30 allies met NATO’s military spending target in 2022, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said.
One country less than in 2021 before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Stoltenberg told reporters in a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels that the alliance originally had expected two more countries to meet the goal.
“But because GDP has increased more than expected for a couple of allies, two allies that we expected to be at 2 percent are now slightly below 2 percent,” he said
Stoltenberg did not reveal which countries reached the goal but referred to NATO’s annual report to be published later on Tuesday.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 13:37(13:37 GMT)
Pentagon to speed up deliveries of Abrams tanks to Ukraine
The Pentagon is speeding up its deliveries of Abrams tanks to Ukraine, opting to send a refurbished older model that can be ready faster and can be delivered in eight to 10 months, US officials told The Associated Press.
The original plan was to send Ukraine 31 of the newer M1A2 Abrams, which could have taken a year or two to build and ship.
But officials speaking on the condition of anonymity told the news agency that the decision was made to send the older M1A1 version, which can be taken from Army stocks and will be easier for Ukrainian forces to learn to use and maintain.
Pentagon officials are expected to make the announcement surrounding the Abrams tanks soon, AP reported.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 13:23(13:23 GMT)
Putin welcomes Xi for the start of formal talks at the Kremlin
Putin welcomes Xi at the Kremlin for the start of formal talks expected to focus on the Ukraine crisis and deepening economic cooperation.
The two presidents shook hands and stood side by side for the playing of the national anthems before heading into the talks, footage from state television showed.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 13:06(13:06 GMT)
Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 391
Click here for a roundup of the key events from day 391 of the war.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 12:44(12:44 GMT)
How far can China and Russia’s ‘no limits’ partnership go?
After the Kremlin said Putin and Xi had held a “thorough” exchange of views during their first day of talks and discussed China’s peace plan for Ukraine, the two leaders are expected to continue further discussions on Tuesday.
But the meeting between Putin and Xi, who have referred to each other warmly as “dear friend”, has been criticised by the US, who said on Monday that the visit provided “diplomatic cover” for Putin.
Al Jazeera’s The Take looks into the relationship between the two superpowers and questions how far their “no limits” partnership can go.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 12:20(12:20 GMT)
Italy says support for Ukraine to continue despite effect on gov’t
Italy will continue to support Ukraine regardless of the short-term effect it may have on the Italian government’s approval rating, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said.
“We will continue to do it because it is right to do so in terms of national values and interest,” she said in a speech before the Senate ahead of the European Council meeting on March 23-24.
“There is no room for a just peace in Ukraine yet, but we will keep pursuing it,” she added.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 11:49(11:49 GMT)
‘Thousands’ of Wagner fighters due to be released: UK
According to the British Ministry of Defence’s latest intelligence update, “thousands” of Russian Wagner Group fighters are “likely to be pardoned and released”.
“Wagner prisoner recruitment peaked in autumn 2022, with inmates being offered commutation of their sentences after six months of service. Although approximately half of the prisoners recruited have likely been killed or wounded, evidence from Russia suggests the group is following through on its promise to free survivors,” the ministry said.
Those freed will be issued a decree approved by Putin.
The update adds that while the Wagner Group still faces a prison recruitment ban, the freed fighters will affect its personnel problems.
“In addition, the sudden influx of often violent offenders with recent and often traumatic combat experience will likely present a significant challenge for Russia’s war-time society,” the ministry added.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 21 March 2023.
Find out more about Defence Intelligence's use of language: https://t.co/3cNBwujMx7
🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/56rYBrSDMA
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) March 21, 2023
- 21 Mar 2023 - 11:23(11:23 GMT)
Ukrainian forces repel Russian attempts to advance in Bakhmut: General
Ukrainian forces have repelled Russian attempts to advance into the centre of Bakhmut, a top Ukrainian general said.
“Assault groups of the enemy are trying to advance from the outskirts to the centre of the city, but our defence forces are working and destroying them 24/7,” Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of the Ukrainian Ground Forces, wrote on Telegram.
Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar said no one had believed Bakhmut would hold out under such intense attacks for so long.
“The defence of Bakhmut is holding and the possibilities are not yet exhausted,” Malyar said.
Russia has made the capture of Bakhmut a priority in its strategy; if Russian forces capture Bakhmut, it will be Moscow’s first significant territorial gain after months of military losses.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 11:08(11:08 GMT)
Zelenskyy thanks EU for ammunition deal
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised the European Union’s approval to speed up ammunition production for Ukraine and set up a two billion euro ($2.15bn) plan to send a million artillery rounds to Kyiv over the next year.
On Telegram, the president wrote: “Our European partners have agreed on a joint plan to accelerate the supply of shells for our artillery. This decision is worth two billion euros. It provides for both emergency supply and production of ammunition.
“This is a strategic step. It gives us confidence in our unity, in the immutability of the movement towards victory over the terrorist state. I am thankful to all our partners in Europe! To everyone who is truly interested in making Europe strong and free.”
Zelenskyy also thanked the United States for announcing a new defence package worth $350m to help Ukraine with its war efforts.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 10:54(10:54 GMT)
Russia summons Canada’s charge d’affaires over ‘Russophobic’ statment
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it had protested to Canada’s top diplomat in Moscow over comments by Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly about “regime change” in Russia.
On Monday, the ministry summoned the Canadian charge d’affaires Brian Ebel and told him Joly’s comments were unacceptable.
Canadian media quoted Joly as saying on March 10: “We’re able to see how much we’re isolating the Russian regime right now – because we need to do so economically, politically and diplomatically – and what are the impacts also on society and how much we’re seeing potential regime change in Russia.”
Russia condemned what they said was a “Russophobic attack” and said it would have severe consequences for relations.
The statement added that Moscow reserved the right to take “appropriate countermeasures” depending on Ottawa’s further steps.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 10:37(10:37 GMT)
Putin, Xi discussed Beijing’s peace plan during talks
The Kremlin said that Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping had held a “thorough” exchange of views during their first day of talks and had discussed Beijing’s peace plan.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to give further details, telling reporters to wait for a joint statement later on Tuesday.
“There was a very thorough exchange of views, a serious conversation in the informal part,” he said, referring to Monday’s meeting.
Peskov said the two leaders discussed China’s peace proposal but again declined to elaborate.
Putin said on Monday he had carefully studied China’s ideas, viewed them with respect and would discuss them with Xi.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 10:25(10:25 GMT)
Japan’s Kishida to visit Kyiv
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will visit Kyiv for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Japan’s foreign ministry said.
The Japanese prime minister will voice support and solidarity with Ukraine following the invasion by Russian forces, the ministry said in a statement.
Kishida will convey “his respect for the courage and perseverance of the Ukrainian people standing up to defend their homeland”, it added.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 10:20(10:20 GMT)
Eastern Orthodox Church leader mulls establishing base in Lithuania
The leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church said he would work with Lithuania’s government to potentially establish a new branch to ensure that followers would no longer be under the sole supervision of Moscow.
“Today a new perspective opens before us along with the possibility to work together for the establishment of (a branch) of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (of Constantinople) in Lithuania,” Patriarch Bartholomew told reporters in Vilnius.
Lithuania’s government said some of the country’s Orthodox believers, including Ukrainian refugees, object to the current organisation, which is a unit of the Russian Orthodox Church.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 10:18(10:18 GMT)
Ukraine says Russian cruise missiles hit, denies responsibility for ‘mysterious’ incident
On Monday night, Ukraine’s defence ministry said that an explosion in Dzhankoi in the north of the Crimean peninsula destroyed Russian cruise missiles, but denied responsibility for the “mysterious” incident.
A statement by the intelligence directorate of Ukraine’s Defence Ministry said: “An explosion in Dzhankoi city in the north of temporarily occupied Crimea destroyed Russian Kalibr-KN cruise missiles as they were being transported by rail.”
Ihor Ivin, the Russian-installed head of the Dzhankoi administration, was quoted as saying the city had come under attack from drones and a 33-year-old man suffered a shrapnel injury from a downed drone. The man was taken to hospital and is expected to survive, he said.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 10:15(10:15 GMT)
Xi invites Putin and Mishustin to visit China
Chinese President Xi Jinping has invited his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin to visit China in 2023, the TASS news agency reported.
According to TASS, Xi said during a meeting with Mishustin, “Yesterday, I invited President Putin to visit China at a convenient time for him this year, since this year China will host the third international forum within the framework of the One Belt, One Road. President Putin took part in the previous two forums.”
“I invite you to pay a visit to China as soon as possible to establish close ties with the new premier of the State Council, Li Qiang,” he added.
- 21 Mar 2023 - 10:15(10:15 GMT)
Putin, Xi to hold further talks on Tuesday
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are due to hold further talks on Tuesday amid Western criticism that Xi’s visit was giving a boost to Moscow.
The two men, who referred to each other as “dear friend”, spoke for more than four hours on Monday and enjoyed a state dinner at the Kremlin.
China has sought to cast itself as a potential peacemaker in the Ukraine conflict with plans to speak to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy by phone.
“We are waiting for confirmation,” Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
“That would be an important move. They have things to say to each other.”
But the visit has been criticised by Western powers, with Washington saying on Monday that the visit, which underscored the close relationship between Beijing and Moscow, was providing “diplomatic cover” for Putin.
Latest: Japanese PM backs Ukraine as Putin, Xi pledge friendship
All the updates for March 21 as they happened.
This blog is now closed, thanks for joining us. These were the updates on the Russia-Ukraine war on Tuesday, March 21.
- In a trip coinciding with Xi Jinping’s talks in Moscow, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrives in Kyiv, where he delivers a message of solidarity and support for Ukraine.
- Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin emerge from two days of talks with warm words of friendship between China and Russia but no sign of a diplomatic breakthrough over Ukraine.
- Xi and Putin stress that “responsible dialogue” is the best way to resolve the Ukraine crisis as Moscow reaffirms its commitment to peace negotiations.
- The Chinese leader says Beijing has an “impartial position” on the conflict in Ukraine and supports peace, as Putin says China’s peace proposals could be used as the basis for talks.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies