China’s Xi Jinping tells Putin “change is coming” as he leaves Moscow

Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin made sure to shape a new world order when the Chinese president left Moscow on Wednesday, after giving no direct support for the Russian president’s war i Ukraine under his three day visit.

Mr Xi made a strong showing of solidarity with Putin toward the West, telling Putin as he left: “Now there are changes that haven’t happened in 100 years. When we are together, we drive these changes.”

“I agree,” Putin said, to which the Chinese leader replied: “Take care of yourself dear friend, please.”

Ealier accused UK President Vladimir Putin of spreading deliberate disinformation after he claimed Britain was supplying Ukraine with “weapons with a nuclear component”.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said there were fewer and fewer steps left before a potential “nuclear collision” between Russia and west.

The Kremlin’s warning came after days of heightened tension following it downing of an American drone by a Russian jet. Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned the US on Wednesday of escalation.


Putin’s claim that Britain is sending nukes to Ukraine is “shithole”, says expert

China’s peace plan could be the basis for resolving the war in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin claimed on Tuesday as he accused Britain of using “nuclear” anti-tank munitions (Alastair Jamieson writes).

After marathon talks in Moscow with Xi Jinping, the Russian president accused the West of not being interested in a deal and said Britain plans to supply Kiev with tanks containing depleted uranium.

“If that happens, Russia will react accordingly, given that the collective West starts using weapons with a nuclear component,” he said.

But the Ministry of Defense dismissed it as deliberate disinformation while a weapons expert called it “bonkers”.

Liam James22 March 2023 at 1:30 p.m


Slovakia offered US helicopters for Ukraine help

The United States has offered Slovakia 12 new military helicopters as compensation for the MiG-29 fighter jets the European country is giving to Ukraine, Slovakia’s defense minister said today.

Under the offer, Slovakia would pay $340m (£277m) for the Bell AH-1Z attack helicopter in a deal worth around $1bn (£0.8bn) that also includes 500 AGM-114 Hellfire II missiles and training, defense minister says Jaroslav Nad said.

US foreign military funding would cover the other $660 million, he said. The European Union would also send Slovakia 200m euros (£175m) in additional compensation, Nad said.

The Slovak government still has to accept the offer. Nad said his country’s armed forces currently have no combat helicopters and the deal would “significantly increase Slovakia’s defense capabilities.”

Bell AH-17 helicopters have air-to-air combat capability

(US Marines)

Liam James22 March 2023 at 13.00


The cost of rebuilding Ukraine soars to £335 billion

Rebuilding Ukraine’s economy after Russia’s invasion more than a year ago is now expected to cost $411bn (£335bn), 2.6 times Ukraine’s expected gross domestic product in 2022, a new study by the World Bank, UN, European Commission and Ukraine found.

The estimate released on Wednesday covers the period spanning one year from Russia’s February 24, 2022 invasion and quantifies the direct physical damage to infrastructure and buildings, the impact on people’s lives and livelihoods and the cost of “building back better”, the World Bank said.

The amount has risen sharply from an estimate of $349bn (£284bn) released last September, since Ukraine endured a brutal campaign of attacks by Russia on its energy infrastructure.

Liam James22 March 2023 at 12.30 p.m


Zelensky on the front line in Bakhmut

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky today visited Ukrainian troops near the Bakhmut front line and handed out medals, his office said.

“I am honored to be here today to present awards to our heroes. To shake hands and thank them for protecting our country’s sovereignty,” Zelensky wrote on the Telegram messaging app during video footage showing him handing out the awards.


Liam JamesMarch 22, 2023 11:50 am


Four killed in a drone attack in Kyiv

The death toll following a drone strike in Kyiv Oblast has been revised up to four.

A high school and two dormitories were partially destroyed in an overnight drone strike in the town of Rzhyshchiv, south of the Ukrainian capital, local officials said. It was not clear how many people were in the dormitories at the time.

The body of a 40-year-old man was pulled from the rubble on the fifth floor of a dormitory, according to regional police chief Andri Nebytov.

More than 20 people were hospitalized, Nebytov said, and some others were missing. Ukraine’s air defense shot down 16 of the 21 drones launched by Russia, the Ukrainian General Staff said.

The strike affected schools and dormitories overnight

(Rescue Service of Ukraine/AFP/Getty)

Authorities could not say how many people were in dormitories at the time of the strike

(Rescue Service of Ukraine/AFP/Getty)

Liam JamesMarch 22, 2023 11:12 am


Russia is just one talking about nuclear escalation, Britain says

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said Britain was not seeking a nuclear escalation in the Ukraine war, after Russia condemned London’s plan to supply Ukraine with munitions containing depleted uranium.

The Defense Ministry confirmed on Monday that it is supplying Ukraine with the type of ammunition, which is used in weapons because it can more easily penetrate tanks and armor due to its density and other physical properties.

“There is no nuclear escalation. The only country in the world that talks about nuclear issues is Russia. There is no threat to Russia, this is purely about helping Ukraine defend itself,” Cleverly said.

Liam JamesMarch 22, 2023 10:13 am


“Change is coming,” Xi told Putin as he left Russia

Chinese President Xi Jinping left Russia on Wednesday after a grand show of solidarity with President Vladimir Putin against the West, which ended with the two autocrats pledging to work together to shape a new world order.

During his two-day visit, Xi barely mentioned the Ukraine conflict, saying on Tuesday in closing remarks that China had an “impartial position”. There were no signs that Xi’s efforts to play the role of peacemaker had borne fruit, but he also made no offer of direct support for Putin’s war in Ukraine.

But as Xi left, he told Putin: “Now there are changes that haven’t happened in 100 years. When we are together, we are driving these changes.”

“I agree,” Putin said, to which Xi replied: “Take care dear friend, please.”

China’s Xi Jinping tells Putin “change is coming” as he leaves Moscow

Liam James22 March 2023 08:53


IMF signs £12.7 billion loan to Ukraine

Ukraine and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have agreed a $15.6bn (£12.7bn) loan package aimed at supporting government finances badly strained by Russia’s invasion.

Ukraine’s finance ministry said the program would “help mobilize funding from Ukraine’s international partners, as well as maintain macro-financial stability and ensure the path to post-war reconstruction following Ukrainian victory in the war against the aggressor”.

The loan program – which also aimed to leverage more aid by reassuring allies that Ukraine pursued strong economic policies – was to last for four years.

The first 12 to 18 months would focus on helping Ukraine close its budget deficit and reduce pressure to finance spending by printing money at the central bank, the IMF said in a statement.

The rest of the program would focus on supporting Ukraine’s bid for EU membership and post-war reconstruction.

Liam James22 March 2023 08:35


Russia warns US of escalation after days of tension

Russia urges the United States not to escalate the situation in Ukraine, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday, the Interfax news agency reported.

The minister’s comments come after days of tension since a US drone was shot down by a Russian jet.

The secretary of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, said yesterday that the United States wanted to “defeat Russia” and that it had become a participant in the conflict in Ukraine.

Earlier, a Pentagon official said the United States plans to speed up the delivery of Abrams tanks to Ukraine, a Pentagon official said, providing the vital equipment to Kiev as soon as this fall.

Russia also hit out at Britain, warning of nuclear escalation after a defense minister in London revealed that Challenger tanks being sent to Ukraine would be loaded with missiles tipped with depleted uranium.

Liam JamesMarch 22, 2023 07:31


Three killed in overnight Russian drone strike on Kiev region – officials

At least three people were killed and seven more wounded in overnight Russian drone strikes on the Kiev region, Ukrainian officials confirmed this morning.

A civilian object had been damaged and rescue workers are still working at the site of the military attack, the Kyiv Regional Military Administration reported on its Telegram channel.

The Ukrainian military said it had shot down 16 of 21 Iranian-made Shahed drones launched against Ukraine overnight by Russia.

Arpan Rai22 March 2023 07:02