(Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he understood China’s Xi Jinping had concerns about the situation in Ukraine, a surprise acknowledgement of friction with Beijing over the war after a week of stunning Russian losses on the ground. DIPLOMACY * Putin also praised China’s leader for what he said was a “balanced” […]
Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now
(Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he understood China’s Xi Jinping had concerns about the situation in Ukraine, a surprise acknowledgement of friction with Beijing over the war after a week of stunning Russian losses on the ground.
* Putin also praised China’s leader for what he said was a “balanced” position on the conflict. Since Russia’s invasion, China has trod a careful line, criticising Western sanctions against Russia but stopping short of endorsing or assisting in the military campaign.
* At the first meeting between Xi and Putin since they declared a “no limits” friendship weeks before Putin ordered his invasion of Ukraine, Xi said China would support Russia over its core interests.
* European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, visiting Kyiv, said Ukraine was making good progress towards joining the EU.
* The U.N. nuclear watchdog’s 35-nation Board of Governors passed a resolution demanding Russia end its occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.
* The United States imposed new sanctions on 22 individuals and two entities it said had facilitated Russia’s war in Ukraine.
* Serhiy Gaidai, Ukrainian governor of Luhansk province, which is almost wholly under Russian control, said Russian forces were now digging in there, and he did not expect any repeat of the swift collapse seen in neighbouring Kharkiv.
* Kryvyi Rih, the largest city in central Ukraine, was targeted by eight cruise missiles that destroyed the water pumping station and caused the Inhulets River to break through a dam, officials said.
* Ukrainian military claimed destruction of a number of Russian troops and equipment in the Bakhmut direction in the east. It added that Russian troops were trying to strengthen their defensive positions in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions.
Reuters could not independently verify battlefield reports. Russia has denied targeting civilians. * Zelenskiy said Ukraine had recaptured around 8,000 square km (3,100 square miles), apparently all in the northeastern region of Kharkiv.
* Ian Bremmer, political science professor at Columbia University, said Putin’s comments to China were the “first public sign of Putin recognizing pressure to back down”. “Russia has become a pariah to the G7 because of their invasion. China wants no part of that,” he wrote on Twitter
* “We waited a long time for our guys. Of course we feel positive. Joy. But there is also fear – fear that the Russians could return here,” Izium resident Liubov Sinna, 74, said.
(Compiled by Peter Graff; Editing by Andrew Heavens)