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As it happenedended1716015825

Russia-Ukraine war live: Putin tries to claim Russia isn’t after Kharkiv – despite massive attack on region

Volodymyr Zelensky claims his forces have ‘stabilised’ a Russian attack in northeast Kharkiv region

Tom Watling ,Arpan Rai
Saturday 18 May 2024 08:03
Quality of Russian troops is now lower than beginning of war, says Nato Chief

Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed there are “no plans” to take the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv despite tens of thousands of his forces having recently stormed across the border into the region and getting within artillery range of the city.

Speaking on the second day of his two-day tour of China, Putin claimed he had ordered the attack to create a “buffer zone” between Ukrainian soldiers and the Russian region of Belgorod.

When asked if Russian forces planned to take control of Kharkiv city, some 20 miles from the current fighting, Putin said: “As for Kharkiv, there are no such plans as of today.”

While Ukrainian officials and military analysts maintain that Russian forces in the Kharkiv region do not have the manpower or weaponry to take its namesake capital, and that the attack is likely an attempt to create a “buffer zone”, as Putin puts it, as well as draw Ukrainian forces away from other battles further east, there is little doubt that Russia would try to invade the city if it had the capability.


Russia's Putin arrives in China for state visit in a show of unity between the authoritarian allies

Vladimir Putin landed in Beijing on Thursday for a two-day state visit to China in a show of unity between the authoritarian allies.

Putin‘s visit comes as Russia has become more economically dependent on China following Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine more than two years ago.

On the eve of the visit, Putin said in an interview with Chinese media that the Kremlin is prepared to negotiate over the conflict in Ukraine. “We are open to a dialogue on Ukraine, but such negotiations must take into account the interests of all countries involved in the conflict, including ours,” Putin was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.

The Russian leader’s two-day trip comes as his country’s forces have pressed an offensive in northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region that began last week in the most significant border incursion since the full-scale invasion began, forcing almost 8,000 people to flee their homes.

Along with Moscow’s efforts to build on its gains in the nearby Donetsk region, the 2-year-old war has entered a critical stage for Ukraine’s depleted military that is awaiting new supplies of anti-aircraft missiles and artillery shells from the United States.

“We have never refused to negotiate,” Putin was quoted as saying by Xinhua. “We are seeking a comprehensive, sustainable and just settlement of this conflict through peaceful means. We are open to a dialogue on Ukraine, but such negotiations must take into account the interests of all countries involved in the conflict, including ours.”

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinpin pictured in 2022 (AP)

Sam Rkaina16 May 2024 07:00

Ukrainian military moves out troops due to ‘intensive’ enemy fire'

Heavy enemy fire has prompted Ukraine’s military to reposition some troops in the Kupiansk direction to the east of the country’s second largest city, Kharkiv, the General Staff said today.

“In certain districts, as a result of intensive enemy fire, our units regrouped to more advantages positions,” the late-night report said.

Kupiansk was occupied by Russian troops in the first weeks of the February 2022 invasion, but recaptured by Ukrainian forces later in the year. The area has seen heavy fighting in recent months.

Arpan Rai16 May 2024 07:05

Putin says he is ‘grateful to China' for peace efforts on Ukraine war

Vladimir Putin said he spoke to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping about Russian invasion of Ukraine after he reached Beijing for a two-day visit.

“We are grateful to China for its efforts to resolve the Ukraine crisis,” he said. The Russian president said he would brief the Chinese leader on the situation in Ukraine where Russian forces are advancing on several fronts.

China had issued a proposal for peace in Ukraine last year but the bid did not conclude and Kyiv has put forth its own peace agreement, seeking ejection of Russian troops from its territory.

Mr Putin’s visit to Beijing comes as Moscow presses forward on a new offensive in Ukraine.

Arpan Rai16 May 2024 08:06

What’s the latest in Ukraine and Russia? Day 813

Good morning.

Intense fighting has continued in the northeast Kharkiv region in what British Defence Minister Grant Shapps said should be a “wake up call” to Ukraine’s allies who have become “distracted” from the war.

“We must back [the Ukrainians] all the time, not just periodically,” Mr Shapps said, adding that a $60bn US military package “took too long to get through Congress”. It was blocked for seven months by Donald Trump-supporting Republicans keen to shore up more funds for securing their border with Mexico.

Ukrainian war tracker DeepState said Russian forces had advanced into a stretch of land between the villages of Hlyboke and Lyptsi, which is less than 20 miles from the region’s capital Kharkiv, home to some 1.3 million civilians.

An aid worker in Kharkiv city running a shelter for evacuees from Lyptsi told me on Wednesday that the civilians could hear the bombs “coming closer and closer” as they fled the village.

In the fight next-door, a local Ukrainian official said Russian forces had entered the streets of Vovchansk, a town some 35 miles from Kharkiv city.

In southern Ukraine, Russia fired three deadly glide bombs, nicknamed “building destroyers”, at the centre of Kherson city, injuring at least 19 people and destroying several homes.

“The city centre of Kherson. In the middle of the day, three Russian aerial bombs hit a residential area,” regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin said on Telegram yesterday.

In China, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, where the Russian leader said he was “grateful” to China for its efforts to end the war in Ukraine, referring to their peace proposal that was dismissed by Ukraine as simply a recital of the Kremlin’s demands.

Ukrainian evacuees wait to register at the evacuation center which receives people who had to leave territories close to the Russian border in Kharkiv (EPA)
A destroyed apartment is seen at the site of a Russian army attack with guided aerial bombs in Kherson, southern Ukraine (AP)
Vladimir Putin (R) and China's President Xi Jinping shake hands during an official welcoming ceremony in front of the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square in Beijing (RUSSIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFIC)
Tom Watling16 May 2024 08:31

Xi lauds China-Russia ties as Putin arrives in Beijing

Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to work with counterpart Vladimir Putin to “rejuvenate” their countries as the pair started a day of talks in Beijing, saying China would “always be a good partner” of Russia, according to Chinese state media.

Putin arrived on Thursday for a two-day state visit that will include detailed talks on Ukraine, Asia, energy and trade with Xi, his most powerful political backer and fellow geopolitical rival of the United States.

“The China-Russia relationship today is hard-earned, and the two sides need to cherish and nurture it,” Xi told Putin as they met in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.

“China is willing to ... jointly achieve the development and rejuvenation of our respective countries, and work together to uphold fairness and justice in the world.”

China and Russia declared a “no limits” partnership in February 2022 when Putin visited Beijing just days before he sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine, triggering the deadliest land war in Europe since World War Two.

Tom Watling16 May 2024 08:48

A compilation of Russia’s latest propaganda claims …

Below is a compilation of the latest Russian claims regarding its war in Ukraine.

The claims cannot be verified but we repost them to show you the mood inside Moscow and the messages they are trying to convey to their own public. Much of the propaganda they push is intended to give the impression to the Russian population that the West is funding a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine and that, despite this, Russia is nevertheless succeeding in its war.

Russia’s Federal Security Service has claimed it has detained Ukrainian agents in Crimea, and that one of them admitted to having transferred information on air defence systems protecting the Crimean bridge, state news agency RIA reported.

The speaker of Russia’s State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, meanwhile, said this morning that Ukraine was dragging the US and Europe into a big war, and Western leaders needed to avoid a major global catastrophe.

Speaker of Russia’s State Duma lower house of parliament Vyacheslav Volodin (R) and Leonid Slutsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), attend a military parade on Victory Day, (REUTERS)
Tom Watling16 May 2024 09:00

Vladimir Putin arrives in China to meet Xi Jinping as West watches with growing concern

China has rolled out the red carpet to welcome Russian president Vladimir Putin for a potentially consequential and heavily symbolic state visit that will be closely watched in the West.

Mr Putin’s second visit in less than a year comes as Western nations, led by the US, are putting pressure on China to stop throwing its economic and industrial weight behind Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The two-day trip is Mr Putin’s first abroad since starting his new term as president earlier this month.

Vladimir Putin arrives to meet Xi Jinping in China as West watches with concern

Russian president seeks to deepen pivotal relationship as West pressures Beijing to cut support to Moscow’s defence industry

Tom Watling16 May 2024 09:20

How Ukraine’s war changed Oleksandr Usyk – and how it didn’t

How Ukraine’s war changed Oleksandr Usyk – and how it didn’t

As Usyk bids to beat Tyson Fury and become the undisputed heavyweight champion, Alex Pattle speaks to the Ukrainian’s promoter and compatriots about his role in the war and importance back home

Tom Watling16 May 2024 09:40

Russian forces trying to take Lyptsi village in Ukraine's Kharkiv region -RIA

Russian forces are on the approaches to the village of Lyptsi, in Ukraine's Kharkiv region, and have started work to seize it, Russian state news agency RIA reported, citing a local Russian-installed official.

The claim cannot be verified and Russian officials often issue premature reports - but civilians fleeing Lyptsi over the past few days told aid workers in Kharkiv city that they could hear the bombs coming “closer and closer”.

The latest update from Ukrainian war tracker DeepState, known to have close ties to the military, suggests Russia forces are still more than three miles away from the village.

The small village of Lyptsi is around 16 miles north of the city centre of Kharkiv, the region’s namesake capital that is home to some 1.3 million citizens.

Tom Watling16 May 2024 10:00

Ukraine’s Zelensky cancels foreign visits as Putin’s forces advance around Kharkiv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has cancelled all his upcoming foreign trips as he looks to concentrate on Russia’s advance in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region.

It comes as US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced a new $2 billion (£1.6bn) weapons deal during a visit to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, before suggesting Washington could sign a bilateral agreement with Ukraine in the coming weeks.

Mr Blinken did not go into detail about what would be included in the latest pledge, which will be drawn from the $61bn package passed by Congress last month.

Zelensky cancels foreign visits as Putin’s forces advance around Kharkiv

Russian President Vladimir Putin said his military were advancing ‘according to plan’ in the Kharkiv region during a war meeting with his top generals

Tom Watling16 May 2024 10:31

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