Ukraine war – live updates today: Russian cruise missile shipment destroyed in Crimea, says Kyiv

Xi Jinping arrives in Moscow to meet Putin for a state visit

A shipment of Russian cruise missiles has been destroyed in Russia-occupied Crimea, officials from Ukraine’s defense ministry have said.

“An explosion in the city of Dzhankoy in the north of the temporarily occupied Crimea destroyed the Russian Kalibr NK cruise missiles during their transportation by rail,” the ministry said, though it did not claim responsibility for the attack on Russia’s stockpile.

The explosion, if confirmed, is the first such Ukrainian attack on Russian munitions on Crimean soil.

It comes as Vladimir Putin met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for two days of talks in Moscow. The two presidents called each other “dear friend” as they shook hands at the outset of the latter’s first state visit to Moscow in four years.

The high-level diplomatic visit comes just days after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for Mr. Putin’s arrest over war crimes in Ukraine.

The pair held informal one-on-one talks yesterday as well as enjoying a seven-course state banquet, and will today hold further discussions involving their full delegations. Mr Xi has invited Mr Putin to visit China later this year.


Shipment of Russian cruise missiles destroyed in Crimea, says Ukraine

An explosion in Russia-occupied Crimea has destroyed a shipment of Russian cruise missiles, officials from Ukraine’s defense ministry said yesterday.

“An explosion in the city of Dzhankoy in the north of the temporarily occupied Crimea destroyed the Russian Kalibr NK cruise missiles during their transportation by rail,” the ministry said, though it did not claim responsibility for the attack on Russia’s stockpile.

It said that the cruise missiles destroyed in the explosion would have been used to supply ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

“The range of such a weapon is more than 2,500 kilometers against land targets and 375 kilometers against sea targets,” he said.

Arpan RaiMarch 21, 2023 04:47


Russia summons Canadian ambassadors

Russia has summoned the Canadian ambassador after Ottawa said it was aiming for regime change in Moscow, according to Russian state news.

Earlier this month Canadian foreign affairs minister Melanie Joly said she wanted to see Vladimir Putin’s government toppled, as Canada banned imports of Russian steel and aluminum in an effort to increase economic pressure in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

Despite firece opposition to Mr. Putin’s invasion, Western nations have largely avoided calling for the president to be removed from office, as it is feared that such comments would bolster the Kremlin’s position.

Canadian foreign minister Melanie Joly at the UN last month


Liam JamesMarch 21, 2023 09:49


Russia flies jets over Sea of ​​Japan as Kishida visits Ukraine

Russia’s defense ministry said on Tuesday that two of its Tu-95MS strategic missile carriers made a routine flight over the Sea of ​​Japan, Russian news agencies reported.

The defense ministry was quoted as saying the flights were carried out in compliance with international law and were made over neutral waters.

The flights coincided with a visit by Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida to Ukraine.

A Russian Tu-95MS strategic bomber takes off in an unknown location to perform a flight over the neutral waters of the Sea of ​​Japan

(Russian defense ministry/Reuters)

Liam JamesMarch 21, 2023 09:30


Call between Chinese and Ukrainian leaders pending – Kyiv

Kyiv is waiting to hear if a call will take place between Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in an interview published this morning.

“I don’t know, we are waiting for confirmation,” Vereshchuk said when asked whether a call between the two leaders would take place. “That would be an important move. They have things to say to each other,” Ms. Vereshchuk told the Corriere della Sera italiandaily.

Liam JamesMarch 21, 2023 09:09


Chinese leader on the move

Chinese president Xi Jinping has left his hotel in Moscow on the second day of a three-day trip to Russia.

Russian president Vladimir Putin warmly welcomed Mr. Xi to the Kremlin yesterday on a visit to both nations, describing it as an opportunity to deepen their “no-limits friendship.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s motorcade leaves the Soluxe Hotel in Moscow


Liam JamesMarch 21, 2023 08:49


Xi invites Putin to visit China

Chinese president Xi Jinping has invited his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to visit China later this year, the state RIA news agency said on Tuesday.

Mr Xi is currently in Russia on a three-day trip as Beijing offered a plan to reach peace in Ukraine. The two leaders said the trip reflects their “deepening friendship”.

Xi and Putin in Moscow yesterday


Liam JamesMarch 21, 2023 08:33


Russia plans to counter child abduction claims at UNSC

Russia plans to hold an informal meeting of the UN Security Council in early April on what it says is “the real situation” of Ukrainian children taken to Russia.

The issue has entered the spotlight after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes related to the abduction of children.

Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told a news conference that Moscow planned the council meeting long before Friday’s announcement by the ICC. Russia holds the rotating presidency of the council in April.

The court said it was seeking Mr. Putin’s arrest because he “is responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of (children) and that of unlawful transfer of (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation”.

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine said there was evidence of the illegal transfer of hundreds of Ukrainian children to Russia.

Liam JamesMarch 21, 2023 08:03


Japanese and Chinese leaders visit opposing capitals

Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida is on a surprise visit to Ukraine, hours after Chinese president Xi Jinping arrived in neighboring Russia for a three-day visit.

Mr Kishida will meet President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Ukrainian capital as the Far East rivals hold competing diplomatic offensives.

He will “show respect to the courage and patience of the Ukrainian people who are standing up to defend their homeland under Mr Zelensky’s leadership, and show solidarity and unwavering support for Ukraine as head of Japan and chairman of the G7”, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.

At the talks in Kyiv, Mr Kishida will show his “absolute rejection of Russia’s one-sided change to the status quo by invasion and force, and to affirm his commitment to defend the rules-based international order”, the ministry’s statement added.

Liam JamesMarch 21, 2023 07:37


Russian convicts fighting in Ukraine is likely to be pardoned and released soon – MoD

Thousands of Russian convicts who have fought for the Wagner Group are likely to be pardoned and released by Moscow, the British defense ministry said today.

“Although about 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 ministry said in its latest intelligence update.

It added that the certificates issued to free Wagner veterans claim to have been endorsed by the decree of president Vladimir Putin.

“With Wagner now likely banned from recruiting more prisoners, this exodus will worsen its personnel problems. In addition, the sudden influx of often violent offenders with recent and often traumatic combat experience will likely present a significant challenge for Russia’s war-time society,” the ministry said.

A private mercenary group, Wagner’s prisoner recruitment peaked in autumn 2022, with inmates being offered commutation of their sentences after six months of service.

Arpan RaiMarch 21, 2023 07:09


EU deal to send one million artillery shells to Ukraine over next year

More than a dozen EU member states agreed on a deal on Monday to send at least one million artillery shells to Ukraine over the next year to bolster its defenses against Russia’s invasion.

Ukraine has identified a supply of 155 mm shells as a critical need as it engages in a fierce war of attrition with Moscow’s forces.

Both sides are firing thousands of artillery rounds every day – with Ukrainian and Western leaders having warned in recent weeks that Kyiv is burning through the shells more quickly than allies can provide them. The Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, hailed the decision as “game-changing”.

The plan, worth €2bn (£1.7bn), will be met via countries’ own stockpiles and also by teaming up to buy more ammunition.

“We have reached a political consensus to send to Ukraine one million rounds of 155 mm caliber ammunition,” Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of EU foreign and defense ministers in Brussels.

(AFP via Getty Images)

Sam RikainaMarch 21, 2023 07:00