Even after 15 months of aggressive war against Ukraine, Russia can continue to rely on fundamental support from China. Head of state and party leader Xi Jinping assured in Beijing on Wednesday that the People’s Republic would continue to support the neighbors in their “core interests”. During the fighting, the focus was primarily on the Russian region of Belgorod on the border with Ukraine. The authorities there lifted the state of alarm that had been imposed after two days. A little later, however, they reported new massive attacks with drones.
Beijing wants to help Moscow with “core interests”.
Xi made the comments during a meeting with Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishutin, the highest-level visit from Moscow since the war began on Feb. 24 last year. The state news agency Xinhua did not elaborate on what is meant by “core interests”. In principle, China has agreed to mediate in the conflict. At the same time, however, Xi backed Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin with a visit to Moscow this spring. The two nuclear powers are also moving closer together in the economic field.
Putin sees “increasing instability” in the world
Putin again accused the West of wanting global dominance at the expense of other countries. In a video message for a security conference in Moscow, he spoke of “increasing instability in the world”. The Kremlin stressed that it had no interest in “freezing” the conflict in Ukraine. The “special military operation” will be completed until Russia’s goals are achieved, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. There are currently no signs of a peace solution.
Moscow: 70 Ukrainian “terrorists” killed
According to Russian sources, the target of the drone attacks on the Belgorod border region were the provincial capital of the same name and several other places. Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov reported damage to houses, administrative buildings and cars. Airstrikes have been going on in the region for months, but now fighting is also happening on the ground. The Defense Ministry in Moscow claimed that more than 70 Ukrainian “terrorists” had been “killed” since the beginning of the week. Ukraine denied having anything to do with the fighting. At the same time, two volunteer corps, allegedly made up of Russian citizens, claimed to be behind it. As in many cases since the beginning of the war, the information can hardly be verified independently.
Report: US armored vehicles in Belgorod?
The New York Times (Wednesday) reported that at least three US military armored vehicles appeared to have been used in the ground fighting in Belgorod. Two of them had apparently been confiscated by the Russian side, the newspaper reported after evaluating photos and videos. According to the report, the United States had made several hundred such vehicles available to Ukraine. Ukraine is supported by the West in its defensive struggle against Russia. The United States provided the largest share, both militarily and financially.
Wagner boss warns of Russian defeat
The head of the Wagner mercenary unit, Yevgeny Prigozhin, reiterated his criticism of Russian warfare and warned of defeat. “We must prepare for a very serious war,” he said in an interview. Russia must declare a state of war, switch the economy to the production of ammunition and “initiate new mobilizations”. For the first time, he gave his own losses in the month-long battle for the city of Bakhmut as 20,000 soldiers killed. Since the weekend, Moscow has been claiming to have brought the almost completely destroyed city under control with the help of Wagner’s troops. Kyiv denies.
The importance of the F-16 fighter jets
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has high hopes for the prospect of US F-16 fighter jets. They would not only strengthen the country’s defence, but would also send a strong signal that Russia’s aggression would fail, Zelenskyy said in his evening speech.
London: More than 1,000 Russian deserters on trial
According to British secret services, the number of Russian deserters has increased significantly since the beginning of the year. Since January, military courts have dealt with a total of 1,053 desertion cases, the Ministry of Defense in London reported. That is more than in the entire previous year.
Kissinger doesn’t see Russia alone to blame
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger does not blame Russia alone for the Ukraine war. The 1973 Nobel Peace Prize winner recalled in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit that in 2014 he had expressed doubts about the plan to “invite Ukraine to join NATO”. “This started a series of events that culminated in the war.” Kissinger spoke of a “highly ruthless” war of aggression. However, he continues to believe “that it was not wise to combine the admission of all countries of the former Eastern bloc into NATO with an invitation to Ukraine to also join NATO”.
Differences in Ukraine’s desire to join NATO
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has acknowledged differences between the allies over possible steps to include Ukraine in the defense alliance. “I admit that there are different views in Allianz on this matter,” said Stoltenberg at an event organized by the US foundation German Marshall Fund (GMF) in Brussels.
With his statements, Stoltenberg confirmed that Ukraine’s hopes of a more concrete prospect of joining NATO are in danger of being dashed for the time being. According to information from the German Press Agency, however, alliance members such as the USA and Germany have recently made it clear behind closed doors that they do not want to make any commitments for the time being that go substantially beyond a vague NATO declaration from 2008. In it, the then heads of state and government agreed that Ukraine and Georgia should join NATO. However, there was no concrete timetable or timetable for this.
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