Wed, 07 Jun 2023

Ukraine's defence ministry said on Monday that an explosion in Dzhankoi in the north of the Crimean peninsula destroyed Russian cruise missiles intended for use by Russia's Black Sea fleet. This came as the US announced $350 million in new military aid to Ukraine. All times are Paris time [GMT+1].

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04:02am: Japan's prime minister to visit Ukraine

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is en route to Ukraine for a surprise visit after pressure to travel there as this year's host of the Group of Seven summit.

National broadcaster NHK, along with outlets including the Kyodo news agency cited an unnamed government source as saying Kishida would arrive in Ukraine on Tuesday after talks inIndia.

2:14am: Ukraine says explosion in Crimea destroyed Russian missiles

Ukraine's defence ministry said on Monday that an explosion in Dzhankoi in the north of the Crimean peninsula destroyed Russian cruise missiles intended for use by Russia's Black Sea fleet.

A Russia-installed official in the peninsula, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014, said the blast was caused by drones laced with sharpnel and explosives and targeted civilian sites.

One person was injured.

A statement by the intelligence directorate of Ukraine's Defence Ministry said: "An explosion in Dzhankoi city in the north of temporarily occupied Crimea destroyed Russian Kalibr-KN cruise missiles as they were being transported by rail".

The statement on social media said the missiles, designed to be launched from surface ships in Russia's Black Sea fleet, had an operational range of more than 2,500 kms (1,550 mile) on land and 375 kms (233 miles) at sea.

7:16pm: Putin and Xi conclude first day of talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin and visiting Chinese leader Xi Jinping concluded several hours of informal talks in Moscow on Monday, Russian news agencies said.

State news agency RIA Novosti said the talks between the leaders of Russia and China lasted four and a half hours. The two are set to meet again for formal talks on Tuesday.

5:07pm: 'World should not be fooled' by China's peace plan for Ukraine, Blinken says

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday voiced skepticism over Chinese President Xi Jinping's "peace" proposals in Moscow, warning they could be a "stalling tactic" to help Russia on the ground in Ukraine.

"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.

Blinken added that Xi's trip to Russia this week following the International Criminal Court arrest's warrant for Putin suggests China does not think the Kremlin should be held accountable for its atrocities in Ukraine.

4:35pm: US to send Ukraine $350 million in new military aid

The United States on Monday announced $350 million in new military aid to Ukraine, including ammunition for Himars rocket launchers and Bradley armored fighting vehicles.

"Russia alone could end its war today. Until Russia does, we will stand united with Ukraine for as long as it takes," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

The announcement came as President Vladimir Putin said he will welcome a plan from Chinese President Xi Jinping to solve the "acute crisis" in Ukraine, as the two leaders met at the Kremlin.

4:03pm: Xi hails 'close ties' with Russia

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday hailed his country's "close ties" with Russia during his first meeting with President Vladimir Putin during a three-day state visit.

"We are partners in comprehensive strategic cooperation. It is this status that determines that there should be close ties between our countries," the Chinese leader said, according to translated remarks carried by Russian state television.

3:57pm: Ukraine to try former Kharkiv security chief for treason

Ukraine said Monday the former head of the SBU security service in northeastern Kharkiv will go on trial on high treason charges for allegedly sabotaging the region's defence against Russia.

Most of the northeastern region of Kharkiv, which borders Russia, was occupied by Moscow troops from the start of the Russian invasion in February last year until September.

Former official Roman Dudin, 40, believed the "offensive would be successful" and hoped new Russian authorities would treat him favourably due to his "subversive activities", the State Bureau of Investigation said on Telegram.

He is accused of leaving his post without permission while under martial law and illegally ordering his staff to leave work and quit the region.

In addition, he is accused of "deliberately creating conditions" enabling Russian troops to seize weapons and protective equipment from the security service's headquarters.

Dudin held the post from 2020 until May 2022, when he was sacked by President Volodymyr Zelensky, who said he "did not work to defend the city in the first days of the invasion and only thought of himself".

3:53pm: EU countries to club together to provide 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine

European Union countries agreed on Monday on a plan to give 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine over the next year by digging into their own stockpiles and teaming up to buy more, officials said.

"We have reached a political consensus to send to Ukraine one million rounds of 155 mm calibre ammunition," Estonian Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of EU foreign and defence ministers in Brussels.

At Monday's meeting, a group of 16 EU members plus Norway was expected to sign a document known as a project arrangement, setting out the terms of reference for a joint endeavour to buy 155 mm ammunition, led by the EU's European Defence Agency.

Such a move marks a significant step in EU integration as defence procurement in the European Union has largely been in the hands of individual member governments until now.

Ukrainian and Western leaders have warned in recent weeks that Kyiv is burning through the 155 mm shells more quickly than its allies can provide them, as it engages in a fierce war of attrition with invading Russian forces, in which both sides are firing thousands of artillery rounds every day.

3:32pm: Putin says he welcomes Xi's plan to settle 'acute crisis' in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed Chinese leader Xi Jinping to the Kremlin on Monday, in a visit that sent a powerful message to Western leaders allied with Ukraine that their efforts to isolate Moscow have fallen short.

As he greeted Xi, Putin also said he welcomed his plan for "settlement of the acute crisis in Ukraine."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that over dinner on Monday, Putin and Xi will likely include a "detailed explanation" of Moscow's actions in Ukraine.

At a daily briefing in Beijing on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Xi's trip was a "journey of friendship, cooperation and peace."

On the war, Wang said: "China will uphold its objective and fair position on the Ukrainian crisis and play a constructive role in promoting peace talks."

1:50pm: Russia opens criminal probe into ICC after Putin arrest warrant

Russia said Monday that it had opened a criminal investigation into International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan after the court based in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin.

"The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case against the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Karim Ahmad Khan" and several ICC judges, the Investigative Committee said, based on their "unlawful" decision to seek Putin's arrest.

Khan is being investigated on the grounds of "criminal prosecution of a person known to be innocent ... and preparation of an attack on a representative of a foreign state enjoying international protection," the statement from the Investigative Committee said.

1:48pm: Putin vows to supply Africa if Moscow exits Black Sea grain deal

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday vowed to continue supplying African countries with grain if Moscow exited a landmark agreement with Ukraine to allow exports from the country's Black Sea ports.

"If we decide not to extend this deal after 60 days, then we are ready to supply free of charge the volumes that were sent to the most needy countries in Africa," he said during a televised address at a summit on Africa and Russia.

1:24pm: UK says Xi should press Putin to end war and 'atrocities' in Ukraine

The UK said Monday that President Xi Jinping should back up China's stated support for respect of territorial integrity and demand that Russia end its war in Ukraine.

"We hope President Xi uses this opportunity to press President (Vladimir) Putin to cease bombing Ukrainian cities, hospitals, schools, to halt some of these atrocities that we are seeing on a daily basis," Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's spokesman said as Xi and Putin prepared to meet in Moscow.

11:14am: China's leader Xi in Moscow for meeting with Putin

Chinese leader Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow on Monday on a three-day visit that offers a strong political boost for Russian President Vladimir Putin as fighting in Ukraine grinds on.

China and Russia have described Xi's trip as part of efforts to further deepen their "no-limits friendship".

The Kremlin has welcomed China's peace plan for Ukraine and said it would be discussed in talks between Putin and Xi that will begin over dinner on Monday.

Beijing has called for a ceasefire, but Washington strongly rejected the idea as the effective ratification of the Kremlin's battlefield gains.

10:55am: Putin to offer 'clarifications' on Russia's position on Ukraine during Xi visit, Kremlin says

President Vladimir Putin will provide Chinese President Xi Jinping with detailed "clarifications" on Russia's point of view on the Ukraine conflict during Xi's state visit to Russia that begins on Monday, the Kremlin said.

During a call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the two leaders would discuss themes in a peace plan for Ukraine proposed by Beijing last month.

"One way or another, the topics that figured in this plan will inevitably be touched upon during the exchange of views on Ukraine" between Putin and Xi, Peskov said.

"But here, of course, exhaustive clarifications will be given by President Putin, so that President Xi can get a first-hand view of the current moment from the Russian side."

10:36am: Xi, Putin hail ties ahead of 'journey of peace' to Moscow

Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin applauded on Monday the solidity of their alliance as the Chinese leader headed to Moscow for a summit with the internationally isolated Russian president.

Xi described his trip as a "journey of friendship, cooperation and peace", though China has been criticised by Western nations for what they consider tacit backing and diplomatic cover for Russia's war in Ukraine.

"I look forward to working with President Putin to jointly adopt a new vision" for relations, Xi wrote in a signed article in the newspaper Russian Gazette that was also carried by Chinese state news agency Xinhua. FRANCE 24's Beijing correspondent Yena Lee provides more details in the video below.

10:06am: Ukraine demands Russia withdraw troops as Xi due to arrive in Moscow

Kyiv on Monday called on Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine, hours ahead of a highly anticipated visit to Russia by Chinese President Xi Jinping, his first to Moscow since the invasion of Ukraine.

"The formula for the successful implementation of China's 'Peace Plan'. The first and foremost point is the surrender or withdrawal of Russian occupation forces from (Ukrainian territory) in accordance with international law and the UN Charter," the secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council, Oleksiy Danilov, wrote on Twitter.

8:00am: Putin to welcome Xi to Moscow under shadow of Ukraine war

Russian President Vladimir Putin will expect Chinese President Xi Jinping to show solidarity against Western hegemony when he arrives in Moscow on Monday, while Xi will present China as a global peacemaker intent on brokering an end to the Ukraine war.

Xi will be the first world leader to shake Putin's hand since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for the Russian leader on Friday over the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia since the start of the war. Moscow rejects the charge.

7:30am: ICC's decision on Putin will have horrible consequences for law, says Medvedev

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday the International Criminal Court's decision to issue an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin will have horrible consequences for international law.

"They decided to try a president of ... a nuclear power that does not participate in the ICC on the same grounds as the United States and other countries," Medvedev wrote in a post on the Telegram messaging app.

"The consequences for international law will be monstrous."

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP & Reuters)

Originally published on France24

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