Day 390 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Xi Jinping visits Moscow
Day 390 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- The plane of the Chinese president landed at Vnukovo Airport
- Xi Jinping: The crisis in Ukraine can be resolved through pragmatic talks
- The Chinese president arrives on a visit to Moscow for a meeting with Putin
- Xi Jinping to the Russians before meeting with Putin: Peace and mutual benefit are an unstoppable historical trend
- Russia has become China's largest supplier of gas
- Attacks and missile strikes around Bakhmut - 69 Russian attacks were repelled
- Russia launched a criminal investigation against the ICC
- The terrorist Girkin: We are repeating the mistakes of the Wehrmacht, we will lose in Bakhmut
- Russia talked about a delay of the gas hub in Turkey
- The EU's #1 diplomat hopes for an agreement on the supply of shells to Ukraine
- Kommersant: Kremlin bans employees from using iPhone
- Kyiv again demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine
- Borrell: If Putin visits a signatory country to the ICC agreement, he will be arrested
- Polish diplomat: If Ukraine fails to defend itself, Poland will have to enter the conflict
- Meeting of EU foreign affairs and defense ministers on support for Ukraine
- Medvedev: The ICC ruling on Putin will have dire consequences for international law
- Britain is ready to compensate Poland for sending MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine
- "Financial Times": Explosives shortage in Europe could delay arms supplies to Ukraine
The plane of the Chinese president landed at Vnukovo Airport
The plane carrying Chinese President Xi Jinping landed at Vnukovo 2 airport, Russian media reported.
An aircraft was also detected by the Flight Radar site. According to the flight tracking website, about 100,000 people followed the plane, which is believed to be carrying the Chinese head of state.
According to Russian journalists, in the area of Vnukovo airport, at least 50 cars with a special traffic mode are waiting for the Chinese delegation.
During his visit to Moscow, Xi Jinping will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Beijing and Moscow have cited bilateral relations as the focus of the talks, but analysts say the main topic of the talks is expected to be the war in Ukraine. China has expressed willingness to broker peace, but is among the few countries that has not directly condemned Russia's actions in Ukraine.
BREAKING: Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Russia for a three-day state visit, when he's expected to deliver a strong message of support for Vladimir Putin https://t.co/ZXpEoSOF9H pic.twitter.com/vNKf5gjy8x— Bloomberg (@business) March 20, 2023
Xi Jinping: The crisis in Ukraine can be resolved through pragmatic talks
Chinese President Xi Jinping said the conflict between Russia and Ukraine can be resolved "if all are guided by the concept of common, comprehensive, joint and sustainable security and continue dialogue and consultation in an equal, reasonable and pragmatic manner," Reuters reported.
In comments ahead of his visit to Russia, he said China has "always taken an objective and impartial position and made active efforts to promote reconciliation and peace negotiations".
Xi Jinping also highlighted China's relationship with Russia, saying bilateral trade jumped 116% in 2022 from a decade ago, reaching a total of 0 billion, with Beijing being Moscow's largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years.
He pointed out that joint projects in the field of energy, aerospace, aviation and transport connectivity are underway, with both countries working to expand cooperation in the field of scientific and technological innovation and cross-border e-commerce.
The Chinese president arrives on a visit to Moscow for a meeting with Putin
The Chinese president - Xi Jinping, arrives on a visit to Moscow. His program includes a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.
According to the Kremlin, the main topic will be "strategic cooperation". The Chinese side announced that the two leaders would "exchange views" on important international and regional topics.
The purpose of the visit is to deepen "bilateral trust", adds Beijing. The visit comes as China offers to broker peace in Ukraine.
The West is skeptical of such an initiative, given the close relations between Moscow and Beijing, analysts say.
In the run-up to the meeting, both Putin and Xi Jinping wrote articles.
No country in the global arena has the decisive voice to determine the entire existing world order, the Chinese head of state wrote in Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
And in the Chinese "Renmin Ribao" Putin thanked Beijing for its realistic position regarding Ukraine and welcomed its willingness to participate in "crisis regulation".
Xi Jinping to the Russians before meeting with Putin: Peace and mutual benefit are an unstoppable historical trend
Today, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Moscow for a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin as part of a three-day visit at Putin's invitation. Military experts expect the two to seek ways to circumvent sanctions in order to sell and provide Chinese equipment to Russia.
Xi Jinping is the first world leader to shake Putin's hand since the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday issued an arrest warrant for the Russian leader in connection with the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia since the start of the war. The Kremlin denies the accusations.
The Chinese leader's visit was accompanied by his article published in the government newspaper "Rossiyskaya Gazeta".
He is confident that the international community is clearly aware that no country in the world is superior to all others and that there is no world order in which the decisive word belongs to a single country.
"In the modern world, many profound changes are taking place. Peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit - this is an unstoppable historical trend. Multipolarity, economic globalization and democratization of international relations is an irreversible trend," says the Chinese leader.
Xi Jinping wrote that China and Russia firmly uphold the UN-based international system and the world order based on international law, as well as the fundamental norms and principles of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and carry out close coordination within The United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, BRICS, the G20 and other international platforms, making joint efforts to promote multipolarity and the democratization of international relations.
On the war in Ukraine, the Chinese leader noted that countries can find a rational solution if they adhere to the concept of "common, comprehensive, joint and sustainable security". He emphasizes the need "to respect the goals and principles of the UN Charter, to respect the reasonable concerns of all parties in the field of security, to support all efforts aimed at a peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian crisis and to ensure the stability of global chains of production and supply".
Xi Jinping calls for continuing joint work on "connecting the Belt and Road Initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union" and achieving such a "development structure" of the two countries that is distinguished by "mutual complementarity and compatibility of traditional trade and new forms of cooperation".
Putin, in turn, gave an interview to the Chinese newspaper Renmin Ribao, in which he declared for the creation of a "fairer multipolar world order", once again accusing the West of igniting the war in Ukraine "in an attempt to preserve the global domination and the unipolar world order".
Russia has become China's largest supplier of gas
Russian natural gas supplies to China reached 2.7 billion cubic meters in January, with Russia leading among other suppliers, Interfax reported, citing Chinese customs. Russia has overtaken the other major suppliers - Turkmenistan and Qatar (2.2 billion cubic meters each), as well as Australia (1.9 billion cubic meters).
In particular, in January "Gazprom" delivered nearly 2 billion cubic meters of gas to China via the "Power of Siberia" gas pipeline. Another 770 million cubic meters were through supplies of liquefied natural gas. According to customs data, total imports in January increased by 1% year-on-year to 11.3 billion cubic meters. Deliveries of liquefied natural gas increased by 7% to 5.210 million tons. Pipeline gas imports decreased by 7.2% to 4.48 billion cubic meters.
In 2022, trade between Russia and China increased by 29.3% to 190.27 billion dollars, which is a record. The customs services listed China as Russia's largest trading partner in 2022. In January-February 2023, trade turnover between the two countries increased by 25.9%.
Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak announced that deliveries through the "Power of Siberia" in 2022 reached a record 15.5 billion cubic meters of gas. By 2025, supplies are planned to increase to 38 billion cubic meters per year. Gazprom is considering supplying China via two other routes: from the Far East and through Mongolia.
Attacks and missile strikes around Bakhmut - 69 Russian attacks were repelled
At the front, the situation around Bakhmut remains the most difficult.
According to Kyiv, in the past 24 hours, 69 Russian attacks were repelled in the city and its surroundings, 6 missile and 13 air attacks were registered.
The Russian side reports shelling in the Donetsk region.
According to local media, mercenaries from abroad have joined the Ukrainian fighters in the Luhansk region.
Russia launched a criminal investigation against the ICC
Russia said on Monday it had opened a criminal investigation into International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan after the court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin, AFP reported.
"The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case against the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Karim Ahmad Khan" and several judges of the International Criminal Court, the Investigative Committee said, calling the judges' decision to request Putin's arrest "illegal".
The terrorist Girkin: We are repeating the mistakes of the Wehrmacht, we will lose in Bakhmut
Russian terrorist Igor Girkin-Strelkov, the man who started the war in Donbas in 2014, predicted a failure of the Russian army in the battle for Bakhmut in the Donetsk region. On his popular Telegram channel, he drew parallels between the battles for Bakhmut and those for Stalingrad during World War II.
The former FSB officer defined what was happening in Bakhmut as "the Battle of Stalingrad only in reverse". Girkin recalls that during the battles for Stalingrad, the Soviet military command managed to impose on the German forces a long and fruitless battle of attrition, while it itself was preparing for an offensive. Then the Germans were confident that they could repel the attack.
According to Girkin, the Russian military command is now on its way to repeating the mistakes made by the Wehrmacht at the end of 1942 in the battle for Bakhmut.
"For now, I think (given the smaller scale, to say nothing of the possible geopolitical implications) our commanders intend to outmaneuver their German counterparts," he says.
The Battle of Stalingrad is often cited as a turning point in the course of World War II. It lasted from July 17, 1942 to February 2, 1943. The Soviet troops won, and the Germans lost the strategic initiative.
Russia talked about a delay of the gas hub in Turkey
Russia said on Monday that work on a planned "gas hub" in Turkey was a complex project that would take time to complete.
President Vladimir Putin floated the idea of a Turkish gas hub - the details of which remain unclear - last October, at a time when European countries took a sharp cut in Russian gas imports in response to Russia's military action in Ukraine. At the "Russian Energy Week" forum, Putin proposed the creation of the largest such platform in the European part of Turkey and redirecting the volume of gas, the transit of which is no longer possible via Nord Stream, to this hub. Ankara welcomed this initiative and said that a significant part of the infrastructure and gas trading center in Istanbul is already ready.
Turkey is making efforts to realize the gas hub project as soon as possible, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last Sunday. "We are making rapid progress to turn our country into a center for the production, transportation and trade of natural gas. We are also developing our pipelines and gas storage facilities," TV channel TRT quoted him as saying.
At the same time, a source from Turkey's Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources told TASS that the gas hub project in Turkey will be implemented within a year. "We are currently working on settling the legal issues on the project. It is still difficult to say exactly when it will be fully completed," the source said.
"It is clear that this is quite a complex job, it is a quite complex project, which unfortunately cannot be implemented without time changes, without technical or other problems," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters today. "Such situations are inevitable regarding the Turkish hub. We will follow it, we will continue to work with our Turkish partners."
Peskov first said in February that there could be a delay in the plan as a result of the devastating earthquake that hit southeastern Turkey and Syria.
Some Western capitals are concerned that any Turkish gas hub that includes Russian gas could allow Moscow to mask exports that have been sanctioned by the West over its actions in Ukraine.
The EU's #1 diplomat hopes for an agreement on the supply of shells to Ukraine
The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, expressed hope that the ministers of foreign affairs and defense will reach an agreement on the supply of shells to Ukraine at their meeting today in Brussels. Bulgaria is among the countries supporting the delivery.
The text of the agreement is almost ready after yesterday's meeting of the ambassadors of the member countries. Only a handful of countries disagree, and not the whole text, but some passages in it. It is mainly about issues such as the time frame for the production of part of the projectiles after the order, according to the Swedish Presidency. Here's what Borrell said upon entry:
"In the afternoon we will have an extended meeting with the defense ministers. I hope that together they will conclude the agreement for the supply of ammunition to Ukraine for about 2 billion euros, so that the Ukrainians can continue to defend themselves. I hope that all the ministers will have final discussions and agree on this very important decision this afternoon. Otherwise, we will have trouble continuing to supply Ukraine with weapons."
The €2 billion plan was proposed on March 8 by Borrell.
Half of the amount represents a new aid package from the European Peace Support Mechanism and consists of supplies from the national stocks of the member countries or from the requests already made. That much more should come from joint procurement of 155mm shells by the European Defense Agency. It is a search by the Member States to fill the stocks, and an urgent procedure is also possible.
Kommersant: Kremlin bans employees from using iPhone
The Russian presidential administration has ordered employees to stop using iPhones because of concerns that these smartphones are vulnerable to Western intelligence agencies, Reuters reported, citing a publication in Moscow's Kommersant newspaper.
At a seminar for Kremlin officials, Sergey Kiriyenko, first deputy head of the presidential administration, said that everyone should change their phones by April 1, the newspaper reported, citing anonymous sources.
"No more iPhones - either throw them away or give them to your children," Kiriyenko said.
The Kremlin may provide other devices with different operating systems to replace the iPhones, the newspaper also wrote.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he could not confirm the information, but that these smartphones could not be used for official purposes anyway.
Apple did not respond to Reuters' request for comment.
President Vladimir Putin has always said he does not have a smartphone, although his spokesman Peskov has indicated that Putin uses the Internet occasionally.
Shortly after Russia sent troops into Ukraine last year, US and British spy services revealed intelligence that Putin was planning to invade. It is not clear how they obtained such intelligence information, reminds Reuters.
Kyiv again demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine
Kyiv again demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine, hours before the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow.
"What is the formula for the successful implementation of China's peace plan? The first and most important point is the withdrawal of Russian occupation forces in accordance with international laws and the UN Charter," Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov wrote, as quoted by AFP.
Russia's long-awaited spring offensive against Ukraine may have reached its peak, leaving Ukraine's defenders "well-positioned to regain the initiative and launch a counteroffensive," according to the latest ISW research released late last night.
The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in a new assessment that Russia's attacks in 2023 have yielded few gains and left Moscow's planners desperate to rebuild hard-hit military units.
The failures occurred despite Russia mobilizing 300,000 soldiers at the end of last year specifically for the spring offensive.
"If 300,000 Russian troops have failed to provide Russia with a decisive offensive advantage in Ukraine, it is highly unlikely that the commitment of additional forces in future mobilization waves will produce a dramatically different outcome this year," the ISW study said.
ISW is a research firm whose board members are mostly retired US military, diplomats and political leaders, notes CNBC.
Borrell: If Putin visits a signatory country to the ICC agreement, he will be arrested
If President Putin decides to visit any of the signatories of the International Criminal Court agreement, he will be arrested there - this is what the High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Josep Borrell said upon entering the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council.
"I know that Russia does not recognize its jurisdiction," he said, but emphasized:
"If President Putin visits one of the more than 130 countries that have signed this international agreement, he will be arrested in every one of them. And this should be taken into account very seriously, because we can negotiate on anything, but this court decision remains valid and is here. That is, President Putin will be arrested if he visits any of these 130 countries".
Polish diplomat: If Ukraine fails to defend itself, Poland will have to enter the conflict
If Ukraine fails to protect its independence, we will have no other choice but to enter the conflict, Polish Ambassador to France Jan Emeryk Rościszewsk told the French TV LCI, BTA reported.
"Either Ukraine today will defend its independence, or, if it fails, we will be forced to join this conflict, because our values, which are the basis of our civilization, are under threat, so we will have no choice," Roschiszewski said.
On March 8, Polish President Andrzej Duda said that Poland is ready to hand over its MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine as part of the international coalition to support Kyiv. Duda also said that Ukraine will receive F-16s in the future. Earlier today, Britain said it was ready to help Poland plug gaps in its air defense caused by the provision of some of Poland's MiG-29s to Ukraine.
Meeting of EU foreign affairs and defense ministers on support for Ukraine
The EU's foreign affairs and defense ministers will meet today in Brussels, and the main topic of debate will be the Union's support for Ukraine.
Foreign ministers will discuss the course of Russian aggression in Ukraine ahead of a meeting of European leaders on Thursday and Friday.
Before the start of the discussions, their Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba will inform them from a distance about the situation on the ground, as well as about the urgent needs and priorities of his country.
Diplomats express hope that the ministers will reach an agreement on the provision of military aid to Ukraine. Mainly they will focus on responsibility for the deportation of children to Russia, the peace formula for Ukraine, global food access and food safety.
In the afternoon, they will join defense ministers and together discuss the implementation of the strategic compass.
Medvedev: The ICC ruling on Putin will have dire consequences for international law
Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday that the International Criminal Court's (ICC) decision to issue an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin would have dire consequences for international law, Reuters reported.
He pointed out that the ICC is "useless" and the system of public international law is ineffective and based on injustice.
"They (the ICC) have decided to convict the president of ... a nuclear power that does not participate in the International Criminal Court on the same grounds as the United States and other countries," Russian Federation Security Council Deputy Chairman Medvedev wrote in a post on Telegram.
"The consequences for international law will be monstrous. After all, this is the collapse of the foundations, of the principles of law... There is a dark decline ahead of the entire system of international relations," he warned.
Britain is ready to compensate Poland for sending MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine
Britain is ready to help Poland plug gaps in its air defense after providing some of its MiG-29s to Ukraine. So far, however, Warsaw has not made such a request, specified the British Minister of the Armed Forces, James Heappey, quoted by BTA.
Last week, Poland announced that it would send four MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine. This would make Poland the first country among Kyiv’s allies to provide such aircraft.
The decision is likely to create a need to strengthen Polish air force equipment. Britain already provided similar assistance when Poland sent Ukraine T-72 tanks. London then provided Warsaw with Challenger 2 tanks.
"Financial Times": Explosives shortage in Europe could delay arms supplies to Ukraine
A shortage of explosives in Europe could delay an increase in production of projectiles by three years, which is worrying news for Ukraine over promised arms supplies, the Financial Times newspaper reported, citing EU arms experts.
Shortages of gunpowder, plastic explosives and TNT could delay a planned increase in projectile production by up to three years, according to sources familiar with EU arms production. This means, writes the Financial Times, that the European defense industry may not be able to fulfill the expected EU orders for Ukraine. The newspaper quoted a German official as saying that "the fundamental issue is that the industry is not in good shape for large-scale military production."
The Financial Times recalls that Europe has promised to replenish Kyiv's weapons stockpile and accelerate the delivery of 155 mm artillery shells with a financial injection. Ukraine has long called for more weapons to bolster its defenses against Russia, underscoring how important the projectiles are in the battle of attrition because thousands are fired every day by both sides.
Today, several EU countries are expected to sign a joint pact to procure the 155mm artillery shells for Ukraine. A senior EU official said last week that most of the 27 member states are expected to sign up to the deal, but some are still studying the proposal. Otherwise, the plan envisages that the first orders for such projectiles can be made by the end of May.
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