Ukraine-Russia war latest: Putin says Britain is escalating war by sending depleted uranium shells
Vladimir Putin has vowed to respond after Britain announced it will send depleted uranium tank rounds to Ukraine.
Speaking during a press conference in Moscow alongside Chinese president Xi Jinping, Mr Putin said: “The United Kingdom…announced their supply of depleted uranium ammunition.”
He said Russia “would be forced to react since the collective West will start using weapons with a nuclear component.”
Speaking separately, defence minister Sergei Shoigu said, "there are fewer and fewer steps" towards a nuclear collision.
"Naturally, Russia has something to answer this with," he told reporters when asked about the ammunition.
British defence minister, Baroness Goldie said the shells would be delivered for use with the squadron of Challenger 2 battle tanks promised to Kyiv.
The so-called “silver bullet” rounds, known for their ability to piece heavy tank armour.
There is no international ban on the use of tank-busting rounds made from depleted uranium, which is a by-product of uranium enrichment.
What we learnt today
There has been much focus on Moscow today, where Russia and China said in a joint declaration that their bilateral relationship had reached its highest level ever.
On the second day of talks, presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping signed an agreement bringing their ties into a "new era of cooperation."
Russia and China agreed that nuclear war must "never" take place.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed strong "indignation" during a visit to Bucha, where Russian forces were accused of widespread atrocities.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Kyiv had suggested to China that Beijing join a Ukrainian peace formula to end Russia's war in Ukraine, but that it was still waiting for an answer.
Zelenskiy: Kyiv proposed that Beijing join Ukraine's peace formula, still waiting for response
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Kyiv had suggested to China that Beijing join a Ukrainian peace formula to end Russia's war in Ukraine, but that it was still waiting for an answer.
He made the remark during a joint briefing in Kyiv with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
Beijing has proposed a 12-point peace proposal, but Kyiv insists on a full Russian troop withdrawal and has been promoting its own plan in recent months.
In full: Russia and China's joint statement on Ukraine
Russia and China issued a joint statement on Thursday following talks between presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.
Reuters has translated the section that relates to the war in Ukraine.
The Russian side positively assesses the objective and unbiased position of the Chinese side on the Ukrainian question.
The parties are opposed to any states and their blocs damaging the legitimate security interests of other states in order to obtain military, political and other advantages.
The Chinese side positively assesses the willingness of the Russian side to make efforts to restart peace talks as soon as possible.
Russia welcomes China's readiness to play a positive role in a political-diplomatic settlement of the Ukrainian crisis and the constructive ideas set forth in the document drawn up by the Chinese side "On China's Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukrainian Crisis."
The parties note that in order to resolve the Ukrainian crisis, it is necessary to respect the legitimate concerns of all countries in the field of security and prevent the formation of bloc confrontation, and halt actions that further fuel the conflict.
The parties stress that responsible dialogue is the best way for a sustainable resolution of the Ukrainian crisis, and the international community should support constructive efforts in this regard.
The parties call for an end to all steps that contribute to the escalation of tension and prolongation of hostilities, to avoid further degradation of the crisis to the point where it could cross over into an uncontrollable phase. The parties oppose all unilateral sanctions imposed in circumvention of the UN Security Council.
China, Russia agree nuclear war must 'never be unleashed'
Russia and China agreed that nuclear war must "never" take place, according to a declaration signed by President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Tuesday.
"There can be no winners in a nuclear war, and it must never be unleashed," said the declaration.
Zelensky 'waiting for answer' from China on talks
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday that he had invited China to talks and is waiting for an answer.
"We offered China to become a partner in the implementation of the peace formula," Mr Zelensky told a press conference.
"We passed over our formula across all channels. We invite you to dialogue. We are waiting for your answer," he added.
"We are receiving some signals, but there are no specifics yet."
It comes as Chinese president Xi Jinping visited Moscow for talks with Vladimir Putin, where he told reporters: "We are always for peace and dialogue."
France missed Nato defence target last year
Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg has urged member countries to speed up increases in defence spending as new figures showed fewer than a quarter of them meeting the alliance's target.
Mr Stoltenberg said Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year showed the world had become more dangerous, and Nato allies had to respond by setting and meeting more ambitious military spending goals.
Seven of the alliance's 30 countries met the current goal of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence in 2022: the UK, Greece, the US, Lithuania, Poland, Estonia and Latvia.
But that was one fewer than in 2021, according to estimates in his annual report released on Tuesday.
Mr Stoltenberg said Nato had expected two more members to hit the target but their economies had grown by more than anticipated so their spending came in lower as a share of GDP.
Croatia and France each spent about 1.9 per cent of their GDP on defence.
Bringing up the rear were Belgium, Spain and Luxembourg, whose defence spending was under 1.2 per cent of GDP.
"There's no doubt that we need to do more and we need to do it faster," he told reporters in Brussels.
"The pace now, when it comes to increases in defence spending, is not a high enough," he said. "My message to allies is that we welcome what they've done but they need to speed up, they need to deliver more in a more dangerous world."
Nato leaders are expected to agree a new, more ambitious target at a summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July.
Pictured: Second day of Xi's trip to Moscow
Russia-China ties 'reach new heights' but not directed at any particular country
Russia and China said in a joint declaration on Tuesday that their bilateral relationship had reached its highest level ever.
On the second day of talks in Moscow, presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping signed an agreement bringing their ties into a "new era of cooperation", said Mr Xi.
However, they insisted it was not directed against any particular country and did not constitute a "military-political alliance."
"The parties note that relations between Russia and China, while not constituting a military-political alliance similar to those set up during the Cold War, are superior to this type of interstate cooperation," the two sides said.
These relations "do not constitute a bloc, do not have a confrontational nature and are not directed against third countries", they said.
It came as they also accused the US of "undermining" global security.
Russia and China insist they want peace in Ukraine
Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Tuesday said Beijing backs a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Ukraine, following talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin.
"We are guided by the principles of the United Nations ... and promote a peaceful settlement" of fighting in Ukraine, Xi said. "We are always for peace and dialogue," he added.
China proposed a peace plan earlier this year that was widely dismissed in the West as lacking any concrete detail.
But Putin on Tuesday accused Kyiv of not being willing to implement Beijing's proposals.
"Many of the provisions of the peace plan put forward by China...can be taken as the basis for a peaceful settlement when Kyiv and the West will be ready for it," Putin said after talks with Mr Xi.
"However, so far we have not seen such readiness on their part."
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has also chimed in on the subject of ending the conflict.
"Every war ends in peace," he said in a separate press conference.
All the world is shocked by what happened in Bucha, says Kishida
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday expressed strong "indignation" during a visit to Bucha, a town near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv where Russian forces were accused of widespread atrocities.
Russian troops were accused of massacring civilians in Bucha, which they occupied for several weeks in early 2022. Moscow denies the allegation.
"As I step foot in Bucha today, and witness all the brutality that took place here, I have a strong sentiment of indignation," he said. "All the world is shocked by the atrocity that was committed in the city of Bucha."
Mr Kishida is the last Group of Seven leader to visit Ukraine. He has come under increasing pressure to make the trip as Japan hosts the G7 summit this May. He is expected to also have a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Read our dispatch from Bucha just after the Russians withdrew last April, and our report on efforts to rebuild the town a year on.
Putin and Xi 'agree on new pipeline'
Vladimir Putin at the start of the second day of talks with the Chinese leader said he and Xi Jinping have agreed on almost all the specifics of a new Russia gas pipeline bound for China.
Russia has for decades been selling natural gas to Europe via an extensive network of Soviet-built pipelines that linked gas deposits in western Siberia to Europe.
With the looming Western sanctions and its own refusal to sell extra gas to Europe, Moscow has locked itself out of the lucrative market.
Speaking at the start of the talks with Chairman Xi, Mr Putin said on Tuesday "almost all parameters" of a new deal to build and operate Power of Siberia-2, a gas pipeline going via Mongolia to China, have been agreed on.
He said the pipeline could be delivering 50 billion cu. metres of gas to China.
Ukraine 'capable of spring offensive'
Ukraine is capable of launching a “credible” counter-offensive in the spring and summer, according to Western intelligence.
“Reports of a counter-offensive from the Ukrainians are absolutely credible given the forces they’ve got and the ability to conduct one anywhere along the line against the Russians,” a Western official said.
“Obviously, they will try to pick weaker points, but there will certainly be opportunities I suspect presented along the line in the spring come the summer for the Ukrainians to do exactly that.”
The Western official said Ukraine had built up forces with Nato-standard equipment and retrained troops, which are now entering the country after a hardened defence against Russia’s renewed assaults in the Donbas.
Watch: Giant flags tower over Xi and Putin during pomp-filled ceremony
Far from an understated affair, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin's Kremlin meeting was filled with pomp.
Pomp and circumstance in the Kremlin as Putin's talks with Xi get underway. pic.twitter.com/LJDjehtvui
— max seddon (@maxseddon) March 21, 2023
Talks with Xi were 'meaningful', says Putin
Vladimir Putin said Tuesday he had held a new round of "meaningful and frank" talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the Kremlin, ahead of discussions between larger delegations.
"A very meaningful and frank exchange of views on the prospects for the development of Russian-Chinese relations has just taken place," the Russian leader said in comments aired on state television.
Mr Putin told Mr Xi that Moscow could meet Beijing's "growing demand" for energy resources.
"Russian business is able to meet China's growing demand for energy carriers," Mr Putin said in remarks broadcast by Russian state TV.
Russia 'risk adverse' with manned planes
Russia has been “risk adverse” in its use of manned aircraft because of Ukraine’s air defence systems, according to Western officials.
“Russian aircraft losses are about 25 per cent at the moment, which is quite significant if you are looking at trying to sustain relatively complex and expensive pieces of equipment,” the source said.
“We haven’t seen indications that Russians have been more aggressive in their use of manned platforms,” they added.
“Indeed, the Russians have been very risk averse in their use of manned platforms, both fixed wing and helicopters that they’ve tried to refrain from losing, and a lot of that is down to Ukraine’s air defence.”
US Abrams could land in Ukraine by autumn
The Pentagon plans to speed up the delivery of Abrams tanks to Ukraine, a US official and a source familiar with the situation said, providing the vital equipment to Kyiv as soon as this autumn.
The Biden administration pledged to supply Ukraine with 31 advanced M1 Abrams tanks after months of shunning the idea of deploying the difficult-to-maintain tanks to Ukraine.
The new plan speeds up delivery by about a year, according to a Congressional aide briefed on the matter.
Chinese-owned hotel chosen for Xi’s Moscow visit
The Chinese president is staying in an opulent new hotel during his three-day visit to Moscow.
The Soluxe Hotel, owned by China’s Soluxe International Group, overlooks a sprawling park which features a model of Beijing’s Forbidden City, the Washington Post reports.
It is located on the banks of the Yauza river in northern Moscow.
The hotel’s rooms were designed to adhere to feng shui according to Russian state media.
Kishida in Bucha
Japan's prime minister Fumio Kishida visited Bucha, a town near Kyiv where Russian forces were accused of committing widespread atrocities.
Russian troops were accused of massacring civilians in the capital region suburb of Bucha, which they occupied for several weeks in early 2022.
The Japanese prime minister is expected to meet with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky today.
Mr Kishida is the last Group of Seven leader to visit Ukraine and has come under increasing pressure to make the trip, as Japan hosts the G7 summit this May.
His trip comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Moscow for talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, with the Ukraine conflict high on the agenda.
Japan has joined Western allies in sanctioning Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, while offering support to Kyiv.
Pictured: Xi and Putin arrive at Kremlin
Ukraine repels Russian advance into Bakhmut centre
Kyiv's forces have repelled Russian attempts to advance into the centre of the small eastern city of Bakhmut, a top Ukrainian general said on Tuesday.
The months-long battle for Bakhmut has become one of the bloodiest of Russia's nearly 13-month-old war in Ukraine.
"Assault groups of the enemy are trying to advance from the outskirts to the centre of the city but our defence forces are working and destroying them 24/7," Oleksandr Syrskyi, the Commander of Ukrainian Ground Forces, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
He said there was intense fighting along the eastern front line.
Orthodox Christians to get new branch outside of Russia
The spiritual head of Orthodox Christians worldwide said on Tuesday he would work with Lithuanian authorities to establish a new branch in the Baltic nation to ensure that believers are no longer under the sole supervision of Moscow.
In 2019, Patriarch Bartholomew infuriated Moscow by recognizing the newly established Orthodox Church of Ukraine as Ukraine's official branch. Previously the Ukrainian Church had fallen under the authority of the Moscow patriarchate.
"Today a new perspective opens before us along with the possibility to work together for the establishment of (a branch) of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (of Constantinople) in Lithuania," Bartholomew told reporters in Vilnius after meeting Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte.
Ms Simonyte said some of her country's Orthodox believers, including Ukrainian and Belarusian refugees, objected to the current status of the Church there as a unit of the Russian Orthodox Church.
"It is natural and human that, as Russia began its full-scale aggression in Ukraine with the open and active support of the Moscow Patriarch Kirill, some Lithuanian Orthodox can no longer in good conscience remain part of the Moscow Patriarchy," said Ms Simonyte.
Kirill has been a staunch supporter of what Moscow calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine.
Russia blames Ukraine for drone attack on oil facility in border region
Russia on Tuesday accused Kyiv of a drone attack on an oil pumping station in the southern Bryansk region on the border with Ukraine, according to the regional governor.
"The Armed Forces of Ukraine, using a UAV, attacked the territory of the Novozybkov oil pumping station of Transneft. There were no casualties," governor Alexander Bogomaz said on social media.
Kyiv hails 'historic' visit by Japan PM as 'sign of solidarity'
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has arrived in Kyiv.
Footage shown on Japanese national broadcaster NHK showed Mr Kishida walking along the platform of Kyiv Central Station, escorted by a few people who appeared to be Ukrainian officials.
Ukraine's foreign ministry on Tuesday welcomed him, hailing his visit as a key show of support.
"This historic visit is a sign of solidarity and strong cooperation between (Ukraine and Japan). We are grateful to Japan for its strong support and contribution to our future victory," First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzheppar said on Twitter.
Mr Kishida is due to voice support and solidarity with Ukraine following the invasion by Russian forces more than a year ago, Japan's foreign ministry said.
His trip coincides with Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Russia in what appeared to be a response to the trip.
Analysis: What does Russia want from China?
Roland Oliphant, senior foreign correspondent, writes:
Russia is unlikely to ask for - and would at any rate be unlikely to get - direct military support from China.
But business is another question.
Russian officials view China as crucial to their attempts to keep the national economy afloat as the war wears on. Many Russian firms have already turned to Chinese exporters for machine tools, micro-chips and other sanctioned items.
And the government is desperate to secure an alternative market for its energy and commodities exports. To keep the Yuans flowing West, Moscow will do everything to secure more contracts.
It is no coincidence that Gazprom today announced exports to China via its Power of Siberia One had reached a new daily record.
But the real topic is Power of Siberia Two - a proposed new pipeline that would pump gas directly from Western Siberia to China via the Altai mountains.
It has been on the drawing board for more than 15 years, but has faced repeated delays because of construction costs and competition from other suppliers.
Getting a start date down on paper would be a triumph - but with few other customers around, China will be able to force a very hard bargain.
Pictured: Wartime life in Ukraine
What's the significance of the Chinese drone sales?
The flow of Chinese drones should be considered in the same way as more deadly weapons, reports the New York Times.
Even the meager $12 million in shipments “will move the needle for what is happening on the front line,” said Cole Rosentreter, chief executive of Canadian drone maker Pegasus, who has advised Ukrainians on the use of drones during the war.
“We’ve returned to warfare at industrial scale; both sides are treating drones the same as artillery shells now, because whoever has the logistical base to outproduce the other has a clear advantage on the battlefield,” he added.
To that end, even tacit support of fresh drone shipments by Mr. Xi could constitute a longer-term advantage for Russian troops. Already, it has been difficult to fully control the shipment of high-tech components like those going into drones.
Xi invites Putin to China
Chinese President Xi Jinping has invited Vladimir Putin to visit China this year, according to local media reports.
"Yesterday I invited President Putin to visit China this year at a time that is convenient for him," Mr Xi said at a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.
On Monday night, Mr Xi and Putin shared a luxurious dinner together featuring a seafood platter from Far East Russia, pomegranate sherbets, roast venison in cherry sauce and a pavlova dessert.
He also described Beijing and Moscow as "great neighbouring powers" and "strategic partners," saying he would "prioritise" ties with Putin.
PIctured: Russia's nuclear-capable bomber planes over Sea of Japan
US is an active combatant in Ukraine war, claims Patrushev
While Russia's top ministers hold talks with the Chinese delegation in Moscow, Russian superhawk Nikolai Patrushev claimed the West is already an active combatant in the war in Ukraine.
"In pursuit of the goal of defeating Russia, the United States and its vassals continue to pump weapons into the Ukrainian regime and, in fact, are already participants in the conflict," he told a meeting in Ulyanovsk, Tass reported.
Mr Patrushev is the secretary of Russia's security council, one of Mr Putin's very closest advisors, and an infamous hardliner.
While the sentiment is not new, framing the conflict as a contest with the "West" is part of Russia's strategy to convince China that it, too, has an interest in Moscow's victory.
Putin and Xi had 'thorough' talk about Chinese peace plan
The Kremlin said on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping had held a "thorough" exchange of views during their first day of talks and had discussed Beijing's peace plan for Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to give further details, telling reporters to wait for a joint statement later on Tuesday after the two leaders meet for a second day of talks.
"There was a very thorough exchange of views, a serious conversation in the informal part," he said, referring to Monday's meeting.
He said the two leaders had talked about China's proposal - a 12-point paper calling for a de-escalation and eventual ceasefire in Ukraine - but again declined to elaborate.
Putin said on Monday he had carefully studied China's ideas, viewed them with respect and would discuss them with Xi.
The Chinese document sets out some general principles but contains no detailed plan for how to end the war, now in its 13th month.
The United States has been dismissive of it, given China's refusal to condemn Russia's invasion, and says any ceasefire resulting from it now would just lock in Russian territorial gains and give Putin's army more time to regroup.
Russia and China have made 'great strides' in relations
💬 President Vladimir #Putin: It is symbolic that exactly ten years ago, we also met here, it was your first visit to Russia as the President of China.
🇷🇺🤝🇨🇳 Since then, we have made great strides in developing our relations.
🔗 https://t.co/PaEaLnUdM1#RussiaChina pic.twitter.com/S1VEQ1LgsZ
— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) March 21, 2023
Russia flies nuclear-capable bomber planes over Sea of Japan
Two Russian strategic bomber planes flew over the Sea of Japan for more than seven hours on Tuesday, the Russian defence ministry said, in an apparent response to Japan's prime minister making a surprise visit to Ukraine.
The Tupolev Tu-95MS planes are capable of carrying nuclear weapons and Moscow regularly flies them over international waters in the Arctic, North Atlantic and Pacific as a show of strength.
But the timing of the latest flight appears more pointed than usual, with Fumio Kishida due in Kyiv later on a visit to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Russia said the strategic bombers made a "planned flight", escorted by fighter planes. It was carried out in strict compliance with international law and was made over neutral waters, the defence ministry said.
ISW: Russia makes marginal gains in and around Bakhmut
New: #Russian forces made marginal gains in and around #Bakhmut amid a reported increase in the tempo of Russian operations around #Avdiivka.
Our latest: https://t.co/qtDbspyIoe pic.twitter.com/sicrtabK1H
— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) March 21, 2023
Japanese PM pictured travelling to Ukraine
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida began a surprise visit to Ukraine early on Tuesday, hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in neighboring Russia for a three-day visit.
The Japanese leader, the first to visit a warzone since World War Two, will meet President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Ukrainian capital in a summit that directly coincides with longtime rivals holding crunch talks in Moscow.
Mr Kishida will show his “absolute rejection of Russia’s one-sided change to the status quo by invasion and force,” during his visit to Ukraine, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said in announcing his trip to Kyiv.
Japan, which has territorial disputes over islands with both China and Russia, is particularly concerned about the close relationship between Beijing and Moscow, which have conducted joint military exercises near Japan’s coasts.
Wagner Group facing personnel crisis as convict recruits return to civilian life
Thousands of convicts released to fight for the Wagner Group are set to be freed to civilian life, according to British military intelligence.
The mercenaries recruited murders, rapists and thieves to bolster their ranks in Ukraine, with the promise they could leave with a clean record after six months of service.
In its latest update on the war in Ukraine, the Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday: “Although approximately half of the prisoners recruited have likely been killed or wounded, evidence from Russia suggests the group is following through on its promise to free survivors.
"The certificates issued to freed Wagner veterans claim to have been endorsed by the decree of President Putin.
"With Wagner now likely banned from recruiting more prisoners, this exodus will worsen its personnel problems.”
Analysis: Chinese state media shows how Beijing is trying to use the trip to its own advantage
Sophia Yan, China Correspondent, writes:
Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia is being hailed in Chinese state media as a way to uphold “true multilateralism,” a jab to the West as Beijing seeks to paint the US as a domineering bully.
China has used the trip to capitalise on its self-professed “neutral” stance, and to continue blaming the US for fanning the flames of war.
For Beijing, this is another opportunity to reframe itself as the arbiter of peace, even as Mr Xi proclaims closer ties with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.
“The world has suffered terribly because of an egoistic and self-serving United States,” reads state media commentary. “Because of the conflict, the Ukrainians have lost hugely.”
The piece goes on to accuse the US of opposing a ceasefire, which has wreaked havoc on the world with food, energy and financial crises.
“To be a responsible major country, the United States should stop being the destroyer of peace and creator of crisis, shift to the right side of history, and help bring this disaster to an end.”
Another piece reads:
“The only one who can solve the problem is the one who created the problem in the first place. The key to solving the Ukrainian crisis is not in the hands of China, but in the hands of the United States and the West.”
“If the United States and the West sincerely hope that China will continue to play a constructive role, they should support and cooperate with China's efforts, stop behind-the-scenes manipulation, stop adding fuel to the fire, stop transferring contradictions, stop slandering China and even threaten sanctions on China."
Analysis: Japan's PM visit to Kyiv reflects fears that a Russian victory could embolden China
Nicola Smith, Asia Correspondent, writes:
The visit to Kyiv by Japan's PM reflects growing fears in the Indo-Pacific that a Russian victory in Ukraine could embolden China.
Japan’s show of “unwavering support” for Ukraine comes against a backdrop of anxiety in Asia that a win for Putin could inspire China to make an aggressive move to advance its own territorial ambitions, or even try to seize democratic Taiwan, drawing neighbouring nations into the fight.
"Ukraine may be the East Asia of tomorrow," Mr Kishida warned in January as his country took up the rotating presidency of the G-7 major powers. His government has since pledged $5.5 billion in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, quadrupling its previous contributions.
Mr Kishida’s visit follows a trip to New Delhi, where he announced a new plan to invest $75 billion in the Indo-Pacific. This move, alongside warming ties with South Korea, and a sharp increase in Japan’s defence budget, fits a pattern of policies widely seen as an attempt to counter China’s regional influence.
It comes as Japan is gravitating away from its pacifist postwar stance, with Mr Kishida becoming the first PM to visit a warzone since World War Two.
Hungary vetoed EU statement in praise of ICC arrest warrant against Putin
Hungary blocked European Union member states from issuing a joint statement about the International Criminal Court's arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin.
Instead, Josep Borrell, the EU's top foreign diplomat, issued the statement in his own name.
“The EU sees the decision by the ICC as a beginning of the process of accountability and holding Russian leaders to account for the crimes and atrocities they are ordering, enabling, or committing in Ukraine,” Mr Borrell wrote.
Budapest also did not join 26 EU justice ministers in signing a statement supporting the ICC's investigation into alleged war crimes in Ukraine, Bloomberg reports.
Putin and Xi to sign more than 10 documents to foster relations between Moscow and Beijing
Presidents Putin and Xi on Tuesday will sign more than 10 documents to foster relations between Russia and Moscow.
On the second day of the Chinese leader’s state visit to the Russian capital, the pair will discuss “energy, military-technical cooperation, trade and economic cooperation”, according to Russian state media.
After talks at the Kremlin Palace, the leaders will issue states, followed by a gala state banquet.
President Xi is also expected to meet with Russian prime minister Mikhail Mishustin.
Analysis: Why Xi can't solve Putin's Ukraine problem
Vladimir Putin has bet his own and his country’s future on starting the biggest war in Europe for generations, writes Roland Oliphant.
Xi Jinping, probably the second most powerful individual on the planet, could have a profound influence on its outcome.
But can he end it? And does he really want to?
Read more here
Ukraine waiting for confirmation of Zelensky call with China's Xi, say reports
Kyiv is waiting to hear if a call will take place between Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in an interview published on Tuesday.
"I don't know, we are waiting for confirmation," Vereshchuk said when asked whether a call between the two leaders will take place. "That would be an important move. They have things to say to each other," Vereshchuk told the Corriere della Sera Italian daily.
Ukraine in pictures
Latest MoD update
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine - 21 March 2023.
Find out more about Defence Intelligence's use of language: https://t.co/3cNBwujMx7
🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/56rYBrSDMA
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) March 21, 2023
Russian cruise missiles destroyed in strike in drone strike on train in Crimea
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 the Kremlin's Black Sea fleet.
It said the missiles, designed to be launched from surface ships, had an operational range of more than 2,500km (1,550 miles) on land and 375km at sea.
"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 ministry's main intelligence directorate said in social media posts.
Good morning and welcome to today's Ukraine liveblog.
We will be guiding you through all the latest developments on Ukraine.