Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin have met for a second day of talks at the Kremlin. The Chinese and Russian leaders signed a series of documents on a “strategic cooperation” after what Putin described as “successful and constructive” talks which showed that China-Russian relations were at the “highest point” in “the whole history of our two countries”. The Chinese president’s trip to Moscow has been viewed as a major boost for his strategic partner, Putin.
Xi said China had an “impartial position” on the conflict in Ukraine and that it supported peace and dialogue, Russian state media reported. Xi said talks with his Russian counterpart had been “open and friendly”. Putin, speaking at the joint news conference, said Beijing’s proposal to end the Ukraine conflict could be the basis for a peaceful settlement – when the west is ready for it. Xi has invited Putin to visit China this year.
White House national security council spokesperson John Kirby said the US does not see China as capable of being an impartial mediator between Moscow and Kyiv over the war in Ukraine. He noted that China has continued to buy Russian oil even as the west piles sanctions on Moscow’s energy industry and said that China “keeps parroting the Russian propaganda”.
Japan’s Fumio Kishida met Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in Kyiv during a rare, unannounced visit by the Japanese leader. Kishida toured the town of Bucha, where civilians were killed by Russian forces. Kishida visited a church in the town outside Kyiv on Tuesday and said he was “outraged by the cruelty” as he paid his respects to the victims of Russian atrocities against civilians.
Two Russian strategic bomber planes flew over the Sea of Japan for more than seven hours, the Russian defence ministry said on Tuesday in a statement released as Kishida’s Ukraine visit started.
Putin has condemned a UK proposal to send ammunition that contains depleted uranium for use in Ukraine. If the UK supplies ammunition with depleted uranium to Ukraine, Russia will be forced to react, the Russian leader warned at his news conference with President Xi. A junior British defence minister said on Monday that the UK could supply “armour piercing rounds which contain depleted uranium” to Ukraine.
Zelenskiy said Kyiv had suggested to China that it join a Ukrainian peace formula to end Russia’s war in his country. Zelenskiy, speaking during a joint press conference in Kyiv with Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, said Ukraine was still waiting for an answer from Beijing. He also said he would join an upcoming G7 summit in Japan via video link.
Ukraine is holding its defence of the besieged eastern city of Bakhmut as Russian forces attempted to advance to the city centre, a Ukrainian general has said. There was intense fighting along the eastern frontline, Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of Ukrainian ground forces, said.
Nato’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, warned China against supplying lethal weapons to Russia. “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.
Seven out of 30 members met Nato’s military spending target of 2% of GDP in 2022, one country less than in 2021 before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Stoltenberg said. He did not reveal which countries reached the goal but referred to Nato’s annual report to be published later on Tuesday.
The US is speeding up its delivery of Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine by sending a refurbished older model that can be ready faster, according to US officials. The original plan was to send 31 of the newer M1A2 Abrams tanks but the older M1A1 version, which can be taken from army stocks and will be easier for Ukrainian forces to learn to use and maintain, will be sent to Ukraine instead.
Fifteen children have been returned from the Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions of Kharkiv and Kherson, as well as their mothers and children’s legal guardians, Ukraine’s human rights commissioner, Dmytro Lubinets, said. A total of 308 children have been returned to Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion, he added, citing the country’s national information bureau.
Italy will support Ukraine in resisting Russian attacks regardless of the short-term impact this choice may have on the Italian government’s approval rating, prime minister Giorgia Meloni said.