Vladimir Putin discusses China’s Ukraine peace plan with Xi Jinping

Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes President Xi Jinping to Moscow for a state visit and says the pair will discuss Beijing’s Ukraine peace proposal.

Ukraine and the United Kingdom have called on the Chinese leader to use his influence and press Moscow to end the war. Xi and Putin declared they had a “no-limits friendship” before the February 2022 attack on Ukraine, but China has tried to portray itself as neutral in the conflict and as a possible mediator to end the conflict.

On his first state visit to Russia since the Ukraine war, Chinese President Xi Jinping says it will give “new momentum” to bilateral ties.

“I am confident the visit will be fruitful and give new momentum to the healthy and stable development of Chinese-Russian relations,” he told journalists at Moscow airport, describing Russia and China as “good neighbours” and “reliable partners”.

The Kremlin says Putin would provide the Chinese president with “clarifications” on Russia’s point of view on the conflict during Xi’s state visit to Russia.Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the two leaders would discuss China’s peace plan.

Xi also said on Monday that Beijing’s proposal on how to reach an agreement in Ukraine reflects global views and serves to neutralise the consequences of the crisis, but acknowledged it might not be easy. “Complex problems do not have simple solutions,” Xi wrote in an article in the Russian daily newspaper, Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

ICC arrest warrant for Putin

The Kremlin says the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for Putin was a sign of the “clear hostility” that exists against Russia and against Putin. But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russia was reacting “calmly” and was continuing its work.

“We are witnessing such a number of clearly hostile displays against our country and against our president,” Peskov said at a news briefing. “We note them, but if we took everyone to heart, nothing good would come of it. Therefore we look at this calmly, note everything attentively and continue to work.”

Russia is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, meaning the warrant has no legal force in the country. However, the move could affect Putin’s travel to any of the 123 countries that recognise the ICC’s jurisdiction.

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Ukraine says it expects Beijing to use influence over Russia

Kyiv expects China to use its influence on Russia to end the war in Ukraine, Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko says. “Ukraine is following the Chinese President’s visit to Russia closely,” Nikolenko said in a statement shortly after Xi arrived in Moscow for talks with Putin.

“We expect Beijing to use its influence on Moscow to make it put an end to the aggressive war against Ukraine,” he said. Kyiv says any negotiations about a peace deal must involve a full withdrawal of Russian troops and respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

“We stand ready to engage in a closer dialogue with China in order to restore peace in Ukraine in accordance with the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and the latest UNGA [United Nations General Assembly] resolution on this matter,” Nikolenko said.

Putin tells Xi that he has looked at China’s peace proposal

Putin tells Xi at the Kremlin that he has looked at China’s proposals for a resolution of the Ukraine conflict and he views them with respect. Speaking at informal talks at the start of Xi’s state visit to Moscow, Putin also said Russia was “slightly envious” of China’s rapid development in recent decades.

Xi tells Putin in talks at the Kremlin that he is “convinced” that Putin enjoys the Russian people’s support ahead of a presidential election scheduled for next year.

“Thanks to your strong leadership, Russia has made significant progress in achieving the prosperity of the country in recent years,” Xi told Putin through an interpreter. “I am sure that the Russian people will strongly support you in your good endeavours.”

Xi also called Putin his “dear friend”, and Putin used the same term with his guest. The Chinese president also thanked Putin for what he said was his support for China and said Beijing should have close relations with Moscow.

Putin and visiting Xi concluded their four and a half hours of informal talks in Moscow, Russian news agencies said. State news agency RIA Novosti said the leaders of Russia and China are set to meet again for formal talks on Tuesday, March 21.

White House urges Xi to press Putin on ending Ukraine war

The White House urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to press Putin to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and end Russia’s war against Ukraine.

John Kirby, the White House national security spokesperson, told reporters the United States is concerned that Xi, currently on a trip to Moscow, will reiterate calls for a ceasefire that leave Russian forces inside Ukrainian sovereign territory.

According to Antony Blinken, United States Secretary of State, Xi’s trip to Russia this week in the wake of the ICC arrest warrant for Putin suggests China does not think Moscow should be held accountable for its atrocities in Ukraine, the US secretary of state says.

“The world should not be fooled by any tactical move by Russia, supported by China or any other country, to freeze the war on its own terms,” Blinken told reporters. He said the US welcomes any diplomacy for a “just and durable peace” but raised doubts that China was safeguarding the “sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Ukraine.

“Any plan that does not prioritise this critical principle is a stalling tactic at best or is merely seeking to facilitate an unjust outcome. That is not constructive diplomacy,” Blinken said.

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US oil exports to Europe hit record in March following Russia’s war on Ukraine

United States crude exports to Europe have hit a record 2.1 million barrels per day on average so far this month.

Record exports to Europe and China this month reflect the rise of the US in crude oil trade and solidify its role in supplying Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

US authorises $350m in new military aid to Ukraine

The US has also authorised another round of military aid for Ukraine valued at $350m, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says.

“This military assistance package includes more ammunition for US-provided HIMARS [mobile rocket launchers] and howitzers that Ukraine is using to defend itself, as well as ammunition for Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, HARM missiles, anti-tank weapons, riverine boats, and other equipment,” Blinken said in a statement.

Source: Aljazeera

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