Putin acknowledges China’s concerns about Ukraine in reference to friction

  • The Russians in the East are digging – official
  • He says it will be hard work to kick them out
  • Putin thanks Xi for Ukraine’s stance
  • European Union President in Kyiv
  • War crimes investigators begin work in liberated territories

Kyiv (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he understands Chinese President Xi Jinping has concerns about the situation in Ukraine, in a surprising acknowledgment of a rift with Beijing over the war after a week of Russia’s staggering losses on the ground.

“We highly appreciate the balanced position of our Chinese friends when it comes to the Ukraine crisis,” Putin said in their first meeting since the war began.

“We understand your questions and concerns about this. During today’s meeting, we will of course explain our position.”

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Xi did not mention Ukraine in his public remarks, nor was it mentioned in a Chinese reading of their meeting, which was held in Uzbekistan on the sidelines of a regional summit.

Beijing’s support is widely seen as essential to Moscow, which needs markets for its energy exports and sources to import high-tech goods while facing sanctions imposed by the West.

The last time the two men met, they signed a “borderless” friendship agreement between the two countries. Three weeks later, Russia invaded Ukraine. Since then, China has taken a cautious approach, criticizing Western sanctions against Russia but stopping short of endorsing or aiding the military campaign.

In Kyiv, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, held talks with President Volodymyr Zelensky where she told him that Ukraine’s accession process to the European Union was on the right track.

White House spokesman John Kirby said China should reject the Russian invasion: “The whole world should line up against what Putin is doing,” Kirby told CNN. This is not the time for any kind of business as usual with Mr. Putin.”

After a week of the fastest Ukrainian gains since the early weeks of the war, Ukrainian officials said Russian forces are now strengthening their defenses and it will be difficult for Kyiv’s forces to maintain the pace of their advance.

Putin has yet to publicly comment on the setback his forces suffered after Ukrainian forces made a rapid armored advance across the front line last week. Russian forces hastily abandoned dozens of tanks and other armored vehicles.

Kyiv says it has recovered more than 8,000 square kilometers (3,000 square miles), roughly the size of the island of Cyprus. The speed of progress raised Ukraine’s morale, satisfied Western backers who provided weapons, intelligence, and training, and raised hopes of further significant gains before winter hits.

Serhiy Gaidai, governor of eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk region, said wresting control of his region from Russia, which it recognizes as an independent country controlled by separatists, will remain a fierce battle.

“The immediate Kharkiv scenario will not be repeated. We will have to fight hard for our region. The Russians are preparing to defend,” Gaidai told Ukrainian television, adding that the Russians were digging in the settlements of Svatov and Troitsky.

Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, said in an online post: “We must avoid euphoria. There is still a lot of work to be done to liberate our territory, and Russia has a large number of weapons.”

There was no stopping Russia’s daily missile strikes on Ukraine, a day after it launched cruise missiles at a reservoir dam near Kryvyi Ri, President Zelensky’s hometown.

Authorities in the city of Kharkiv said that Russian shells hit a high-pressure gas pipeline, while a rescue operation was underway in the city of Bakhmut with four people suspected of being trapped under the rubble after the strike, Pavlo Kirilenko, the governor of the Donetsk region, said.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said Thursday that Russian forces launched attacks on several settlements on the front line in Kharkiv in the past 24 hours.

But the British Ministry of Defense said in an update that Ukrainian forces continue to consolidate their control over the newly liberated territories in the region.

White House spokesman Kirby told MSNBC in an interview Thursday that the United States, which has provided billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine, is expected to introduce a new security assistance package soon.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned Washington against taking cautious steps, saying that any decision to supply Kyiv with long-range missiles of US-made HIMARS systems would cross a “red line” and make the United States a “direct party to the conflict.” Read more

Ukraine’s fastest advance since Russian forces were expelled from the capital in March has changed the course of the six-month-old war

War Crimes Investigation

On Wednesday, the first teams of war crimes prosecutors, both Ukrainian and international, were able to arrive early to begin investigating swathes of recently liberated territory.

They said initial indications appeared to be widespread atrocities.

Nigel Beauvois, a British lawyer who went to the newly captured area as part of an international team helping Ukraine with war crimes investigations, said Russia’s long occupation of such a large area meant atrocities there likely had reached an “unprecedented level”. of horror.”

“It appears that widespread torture and executions of civilians have taken place in temporary detention centers throughout the region, for example, in Balaklia and Izium,” he said. The evidence so far has “followed a similar horrific pattern” to that in the cities occupied by Russian forces early in the war near Kyiv.

Russia denies that its forces committed war crimes, describing the allegations as fabrications aimed at discrediting its armed forces.

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Covering by Reuters offices Additional reporting by Anthony Deutsch Writing by Andrew Osborne and Alexandra Hudson Editing by Peter Graf and Frank Jack Daniel

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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