The dates of Xi Jinping's visit to meet Putin in Moscow have been disclosed, while evidence of China’s aid to Russia, which includes weapons and components to military equipment, was also revealed.
Kyiv urges that the allies establish an agreement for the confiscation of frozen Russian assets by summer 2023, and the primary Republican competitor of Donald Trump said that the war in Ukraine was a "territorial dispute" devoid of interest for the U.S.
Meanwhile, a survey showed that a significant percentage of Ukrainian refugees in the United Kingdom had been left without housing.
offers a digest of Western mass media at the end of the March 13–17, 2023, business week.
Xi’s visit to Moscow: what he will discuss with Putin
China’s leader, Xi Jinping, will travel to Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin next week in a visit that could have broad implications for Moscow’s war in Ukraine and the troubled relationship between Beijing and Washington, The New York Times report.
Mr. Xi is expected to make a state visit to Russia from Monday to Wednesday, China’s Foreign Ministry and the Kremlin said in statements. It will be his first visit to Russia since the country launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
Mr. Xi’s trip will be watched closely by leaders in the United States and Europe who are frustrated with China’s diplomatic and economic support for Russia. Although the two nations have not declared a formal alliance, Beijing maintains deep strategic ties with Moscow as a like-minded nuclear-armed power that seeks to weaken Washington’s geopolitical dominance.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, said that Xi Jinping would use the visit to increase the "mutual trust and understanding" between the two countries, which he said had "established a new paradigm for international relations." At the same time, China would seek to play a mediating role between Russia and Ukraine, he said.
Wang Wenbin also implicitly criticized Western nations’ tough approach to punishing Russia, saying that "unilateral sanctions" and "extreme pressure" would only worsen the crisis.
It is unclear whether Xi Jinping will also meet or speak separately with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. On Thursday, the foreign ministers of Ukraine and China spoke over the phone.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, said the two discussed "the principle of territorial integrity." China said its foreign minister, Qin Gang, told his Ukrainian counterpart that Beijing would "continue to play a constructive role in bringing an end to the conflict, mitigating the crisis and restoring peace."
Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, said that the United States had been encouraging Mr. Xi to speak to Mr. Zelensky, in part to discourage China from supplying Russia with arms.
Ukraine: allies hamper the recovery of money from Russia
Allies hamper Ukraine's efforts to ensure it receives compensation from Russia for damage caused by its invasion out of fear of setting a legal precedent, said Ukraine’s deputy justice minister Iryna Mudra in an interview with Reuters.
Kyiv is trying set a legal basis for Russian assets frozen by other countries — notably billions of dollars in Russian central bank assets — to be transferred to Ukraine to help rebuild the country. But some countries are worried about setting a precedent that would put their own assets at risk, by opening them to compensation demands over past conflicts in which they were involved.
In early 2023, the Ukrainian government said that damage to the economy from Russia's invasion on February 24, 2022, had passed $700 billion, and that it was vital to receive this money as compensation from Russia.
Mudra did not identify the countries that had expressed concerns about obtaining compensation from Russia but said Ukraine was trying to allay their fears.
"This treaty will be exclusively for the situation of an egregious war of aggression" in breach of the founding U.N. Charter and International Court of Justice rulings "so that it cannot be used for other conflicts," she said.
She said she hoped an agreement on the creation of an international register of damage in Ukraine would be announced this May, and signed by foreign partners — including all the Group of Seven wealthy nations — by the start of June 2023.
China is supplying Russia with rifles: who else helps the aggressor’s army
Chinese companies have sent Russian entities 1,000 assault rifles and other equipment that could be used for military purposes, including drone parts and body armor, according to trade and customs data obtained by POLITICO.
The shipments took place between June and December 2022, according to the data provided by ImportGenius, a customs data aggregator.
China North Industries Group Corporation Limited, one of the country’s largest state-owned defense contractors, sent the rifles in June 2022 to a Russian company called Tekhkrim that also does business with the Russian state and military. The CQ-A rifles, modeled off of the M16 but tagged as "civilian hunting rifles" in the data, have been reported to be in use by paramilitary police in China and by armed forces from the Philippines to South Sudan and Paraguay.
Russian entities also received 12 shipments of drone parts by Chinese companies and over 12 tons of Chinese body armor, routed via Turkey, in late 2022, according to the data.
It is the first confirmation that China is sending rifles and body armor to Russian companies. Drones and drone parts are still being sent despite promises from at least one company that said it would suspend business in Russia and Ukraine.
Da-Jiang Innovations Science & Technology Co., also known as DJI, sent drone parts — like batteries and cameras — via the United Arab Emirates to a small Russian distributor in November and December 2022. DJI has been under U.S. Treasury sanctions since 2021 for providing the Chinese state with drones to surveil the Uyghur minority in the region of Xinjiang.
Russia managed to import almost 80 tons of body armor worth around $10 million in December 2022, according to the customs data from ImportGenius. Those bulletproof vests were manufactured by Turkish company Ariteks and most were imported straight from Turkey, although some of the shipments arrived to Russia via the United Arab Emirates. Russia also imported some body armor from Chinese company Xinxing Guangzhou Import & Export Co.
Trade data also shows that Russian state defense company Rosoboronexport has imported microchips, thermal vision devices and spare parts like a gas turbine engine from a variety of countries ranging from China to Serbia and Myanmar.
The Chinese embassy in Washington said in a statement that Beijing is "committed to promoting talks for peace" in Ukraine.
"China did not create the crisis. It is not a party to the crisis, and has not provided weapons to either side of the conflict," said embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu.
Why DeSantis called the war in Ukraine a "territorial dispute"
БагатоMany members of the Republican Party consider the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, as an alternative for Donald Trump for the 2024 election.
But DeSantis’s dismissal of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a mere "territorial dispute" shorn of any vital U.S. interest has set off real panic in the GOP, according to The Washington Post.
This was especially notable in the Russia-hawk circles that once included DeSantis.
Many senators flatly disagreed with it. Sen. Lindsey Graham even likened it to the "Neville Chamberlain approach" (in 1938, Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Agreement, ceding the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany — )».
Senators Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also questioned DeSantis’s competence in foreign policy issues.
However, before DeSantis became the governor of Florida, he spent six years in Congress, during which he served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He weighed in repeatedly on the importance of protecting Ukraine from Russia, said that Vladimir Putin "wants to reconstitute the Russian Empire," and even gently chided Trump for trying to forge a relationship with Putin.
Perhaps DeSantis has changed his position, because scepticism about Ukraine, a signature stance of Donald Trump, is on the rise among the Republican voters. Therefore, both most probable Republican presidential candidates share a conciliatory approach to Russia’s invasion, which may thus be established as the party’s overall posture.
Ukrainian refugees become homeless in Britain: a survey
More than half of Ukrainian refugees struggle to find affordable rental accommodation after moving on from living with their host families, according to research published a year on from the launch of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, The Guardian reports.
In the past year more than 117,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the U.K. under the hosting scheme. Another 49,000 have arrived to join relatives who were already living here.
British host families were asked to make an initial six-month commitment to accommodate refugees from Ukraine, and many have been unable to extend that invitation into a more permanent arrangement. A total of 4,630 Ukrainian refugee households have been classified as homeless after a relationship with their host family came to an end.
A survey carried out by Generation Rent and the charity Opora, which supports Ukrainians in the UK, among Ukrainian refugees forced to seek accommodation on their own found that 49% had been unable to provide a guarantor and 43% had been unable to find money for a tenancy deposit.
The latest data shows a 44% increase in the number of Ukrainians presenting as homeless in the last month, according to the Local Government Association.
Stan Beneš, managing director of Opora, said:
"This research makes it clear that Ukrainian refugees are currently facing a disproportionately high level of structural barriers in accessing the private rented sector. People are having to settle for properties that are clearly not suitable for sustainable rebuilding of lives."
A government spokesperson said that local authorities had a legal duty to ensure no families were left without housing.
"We are giving councils funding for each Homes for Ukraine guest and have recently also extended and increased ‘thank you’ payments for sponsors. Just yesterday we announced £1m to help Ukrainians improve their English and unlock employment opportunities."