Russian president Vladimir Putin has praised his Chinese counterpart as a ‘good old friend’ as Xi Jinping visits Moscow
Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to begin a state visit to Russia, seeking to present China as a global peacemaker while strengthening ties with Vladimir Putin. Xi and Putin will have an informal one-on-one meeting and dinner on Monday before negotiations take place on Tuesday.
Putin praised Xi as a “good old friend” in a newspaper article published in China while Xi wrote in a Russian daily that his trip to Russia aimed to strengthen the friendship between the two countries and called for “pragmatism” on Ukraine.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called the international criminal court’s arrest warrant against Putin a “turning point” in the conflict. In Zelensky’s nightly address, he said the warrant marked a “truly significant international legal result for Ukraine, for justice … The moment after which it becomes undeniable that the end of this aggression for Russia will be the full range of its responsibility.”
Putin visited a command post in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. Russian state-owned news agency TASS said Putin held a meeting at a military command and control post in the Russian city. It comes after Putin travelled to Russian-occupied Mariupol by helicopter, and visited Russian-occupied Crimea.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence accused Putin of visiting Mariupol “under the cover of night” in order to avoid showing destruction of city. In a Twitter post the ministry said “darkness allows him to highlight what he wants to show, and keeps … its few surviving inhabitants away from prying eyes.”
Justice ministers from more than 40 countries are set to meet in London at a conference to discuss boosting support for the ICC as it investigates possible war crimes in the Ukraine conflict, after the issuing of the arrest warrant for Putin and Lvova-Belova.
Ukraine’s armed forces have released their latest estimate for war casualties, although the Guardian cannot verify them. The country’s army now claims to have killed 164,910 Russian troops since the start of the war. Of these, they say 710 were killed in the 24 hours to Sunday morning. They also report having destroyed eight Russian artillery systems since Saturday.
A shortage of explosives is hampering the efforts of European countries to provide Ukraine with arms, according to a report. Industry insiders told the Financial Times that gunpowder, plastic explosives and TNT are in short supply and could delay a planned ramping up of shell production by as much as three years. It means Europe’s defence industry may be unable to meet expected EU orders for Ukraine.
Britain and Ukraine have signed a digital trade deal, which will give Ukraine access to electronic financial services to aid reconstruction efforts. The UK department of business and trade said trading digitally was particularly important in the conflict, because damage to Ukrainian infrastructure and warfare had made it much harder to trade physically.
Serbia’s president attacked the decision to issue an international arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, saying it will only prolong the war in Ukraine. Aleksandar Vučić, who has previously boasted of his personal relationship with the Russian leader, told reporters in Belgrade: “I think issuing an arrest warrant for Putin, not to go into legal matters, will have bad political consequences and it says that there is a great reluctance to talk about peace (and) about truce.”