Ukraine-Russia – live: Putin hails China’s ‘constructive role’ in war ahead of Xi Jinping visit

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Putin seen in Mariupol for first visit to occupied territory since Russian invasion

Russian president Vladimir Putin welcomed China’s “willingness to play a constructive role” in Ukraine, as his “good old friend” Xi Jinping heads to Moscow.

In an article written for a Chinese newspaper, Mr Putin said the Kremlin had high hopes for the Chinese president’s visit, his first to Russia since Mr Putin launched his “special military operation” last year.

“We are grateful for the balanced line of [China] in connection with the events taking place in Ukraine, for understanding their background and true causes. We welcome China’s willingness to play a constructive role in resolving the crisis,” Mr Putin said.

Mr Xi followed with a letter calling for a “rational way” out of the crisis, and claiming China’s proposal reflects global views.

Beijing last month published a 12-point paper calling for dialogue and a settlement in Ukraine, but it contained only general statements and no concrete proposal for how the year-long war might end.

Ukraine, which says any settlement would require Russia to withdraw from all the territory it has seized including the Crimean peninsula Russia annexed in 2014, cautiously welcomed the Chinese proposal.

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Egypt’s Sisi discusses nuclear plant, grains trade with Russian officials

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi held talks with high-ranking Russian officials on Sunday to discuss a Russian-built nuclear plant under construction on Egypt’s north coast as well as grains supply and food security, Egypt’s presidency said.

The meeting with officials including Russia’s trade minister and a special envoy of President Vladimir Putin also addressed the establishment of a Russian industrial zone inside the Suez Canal’s Economic Zone, among other investments, it added.

Construction by Russia’s state-owned energy corporation Rosatom of Egypt’s first nuclear plant at El Dabaa began in July of last year, and is expected to take until at least 2030.

In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Egypt has been trying to balance long-standing ties with both Russia and Western powers.

Reuters20 March 2023 00:00
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Putin and Xi might have a bromance but it’s clear who holds the power

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping have met around 40 times since China’s leader assumed the presidency in 2012. In many ways, the camaraderie between the pair has come to define the diplomatic relations between Moscow and Beijing across the last decade.

Xi made Moscow his first overseas visit as president in 2013 and this latest visit comes next week in the wake of him being handed an unprecedented third term as president. During that time, the greetings between Xi and Putin have evolved from “dear president” to “dear friend” and later to “my old friend”. Last year, just a few weeks before Moscow’s forces invaded Ukraine the leaders met and announced a “no limits” partnership between their two nations.

Historically, relations between China and Russia have been fraught with distrust and confrontation, particularly at the height of their Cold War schism in the late 1960s, but Putin and Xi have changed the dynamic. On his last visit to Moscow, in 2019, Xi spoke of his “deep personal friendship” with his Russian counterpart. “In the past six years, we have met nearly 30 times. Russia is the country that I have visited the most times, and President Putin is my best friend and colleague,” Xi said. Both leaders share an objective of altering the world order, and they will continue to pursue that.

Chris Stevenson reviews an unbalanced relationship:

Liam James19 March 2023 23:00
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Putin says ‘good, old friend’ Xi Jinping has ‘constructive role’ in Ukraine

Russian president Vladimir Putin said China had shown a “willingness to play a constructive role” in Ukraine, ahead of a visit by Chinese premier Xi Jinping heads to Moscow.

In an essay published Monday in the People’s Daily, the newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee, Mr Putin said: “We are grateful for the balanced line (of China) in connection with the events taking place in Ukraine, for understanding their background and true causes. We welcome China’s willingness to play a constructive role in resolving the crisis.”

He referred to Mr Xi as his “good, old friend”, as the Chinese leader prepared for his first trip to Russia since Mr Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine last year.

China in February released a position paper calling for an end to fighting in Ukraine and for upholding all countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity. It did not address how to resolve Russia’s illegal claim to have annexed four regions of Ukraine.

Liam James19 March 2023 22:02
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‘Criminal’ Vladimir Putin visits destroyed Mariupol after ICC issues arrest warrant

Kyiv officials described Vladimir Putin as a “criminal” returning to a “crime scene” after the Russian president visited Mariupol in the second of two appearances in Ukraine after a warrant for his arrest was issued by the International Criminal Court (Matt Mathers writes).

State media said Mr Putin drove around the occupied port city in a car on Saturday, stopping in several districts to speak with locals in what appears to be an attempt by the president to project an image of control after he was indicted on war crimes charges. It is the first time he has visited the city.

Mariupol, in Ukraine’s south, was captured by Russia 10 months ago after an indiscriminate bombing campaign by Kremlin troops at the outset of Moscow’s illegal invasion of Ukraine on 24 February last year.

Liam James19 March 2023 22:00
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Frontline medical volunteers brave Russian assault

Medical volunteers are at work in Donetsk, the area of heaviest fighting in Ukraine, as the Russian assault continues.

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A medical volunteer of Frida Ukraine listens through a stethoscope to the lungs of a girl while providing specialist medical care for civilians in Khrestysche village, Donetsk

<p>The Ukrainian-Israeli medical aid organisation, staffed by volunteer doctors, has been providing specialist medical care through mobile clinics in villages and towns near the frontlines and in recently retaken areas</p><p>” height=”5674″ width=”8511″ layout=”responsive” class=”i-amphtml-layout-responsive i-amphtml-layout-size-defined” i-amphtml-layout=”responsive”><i-amphtml-sizer slot=

The Ukrainian-Israeli medical aid organisation, staffed by volunteer doctors, has been providing specialist medical care through mobile clinics in villages and towns near the frontlines and in recently retaken areas

Liam James19 March 2023 21:00
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Watch: Putin on wallkabout in occupied-Mariupol

Vladimir Putin was today seen on the streets of the devastated Ukrainian city of Mariupol, in his first trip to occupied territory since the Russian invasion.

Mariupol was subject to a brutal siege by Russian forces in the early weeks of the invasion as Moscow sought to secure a land route from Russia’s border to Crimea.

The Russian president yesterday travelled to Crimea to mark the ninth anniversary of the peninsula’s annexation from Ukraine.

Putin seen in Mariupol for first visit to occupied territory since Russian invasion
Liam James19 March 2023 20:00
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Russia ‘highly unlikely’ to seize major objectives in near future – MoD

Russian forces fighting in Ukraine are “highly unlikely” to capture Moscow’s previously planned major objectives in the coming months of grinding war, the British defence ministry said today.

It pointed to a decree published on 3 March where authorities in the Russian-controlled part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast declared occupied Melitopol as the regional capital.

“The Russian-installed head of the oblast, Evgeny Balitsky, said that this was a temporary measure until the city of Zaporizhzhia was controlled by Russia,” the ministry noted.

It added: “The quiet declaration of an alternative capital is likely tacit acknowledgement within the Russian system that its forces are highly unlikely to seize previously planned major objectives in the near future.”

Liam James19 March 2023 19:00
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Three people dead in Russian strike in Zaporizhzhia

Three people have died and two were injured in a Russian shelling attack on a residential building in the southern Ukrainian region of Zaporizhzhia on Sunday.

The region’s military administration said Russian troops fired grad rockets at the village of Kamyanske where some 2,600 people lived before the war broke out.

The authorities urged people to evacuate warning that the threat of shelling was constant near the front lines.

<p>People inspect a damaged restaurant after Russian shelling hit in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine on Saturday, 18 March</p><p>” height=”3938″ width=”5907″ layout=”responsive” class=”i-amphtml-layout-responsive i-amphtml-layout-size-defined” i-amphtml-layout=”responsive”><i-amphtml-sizer slot=

People inspect a damaged restaurant after Russian shelling hit in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine on Saturday, 18 March

Natalie Crockett19 March 2023 18:00
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ICYMI: Biden says Putin has ‘clearly committed war crimes’ and ICC charges are justified

“He’s clearly committed war crimes,” the US president said on Friday referring to the Russian leader.

Arpan Rai has more:

Matt Mathers19 March 2023 17:15
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Watch: Putin visits Crimea to mark anniversary of Russia’s annexation

Vladimir Putin travelled to Crimea on Saturday, 18 March, on an unannounced visit to mark the ninth anniversary of Russia‘s annexation of the territory from Ukraine.

The Russian president met with the Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, and visited to see a new children’s centre and art school.

The surprise visit came a day after the International Criminal Court said it had issued an arrest warrant against Putin, accusing him of the war crime of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine.

Watch the video here:

Putin visits Crimea to mark anniversary of Russia’s annexation

Vladimir Putin travelled to Crimea on Saturday, 18 March, on an unannounced visit to mark the ninth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the territory from Ukraine. The Russian president met with the Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, and visited to see a new children’s centre and art school. The surprise visit came a day after the International Criminal Court said it had issued an arrest warrant against Putin, accusing him of the war crime of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine. Click here to sign up for our newsletters.

Matt Mathers19 March 2023 16:30

Source: independent.co.uk