WHAT WILL XI JINPING DISCUSS WITH THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL VLADIMIR PUTIN? (2023 03 20)
Political strategic level
Chinese leader Xi Jinping will meet in Moscow with Vladimir Putin, an international criminal wanted for arrest by 123 countries. Xi's government has not provided any information on what the Chinese dictator hopes to achieve with this meeting. Xi and Führer Putin declared before the large-scale invasion that they shared an 'unlimited friendship', but China has so far tried to portray itself as neutral. Last month, Beijing called for a ceasefire, but Washington said this would ratify the Kremlin's gains on the battlefield.
Xi will visit Moscow from Monday to Wednesday. Russian government officials said Xi was expected to arrive at noon and meet Putin later.
China views Russia as a source of oil and gas and as a partner in opposing what both countries see as American dominance in world affairs. The meeting gives Putin and Xi the opportunity to show that, despite world opinion, the two countries support each other as powerful partners.
"China can signal that <...> if relations with the United States continue to deteriorate, it can do a lot more to give Russia a chance and to help Russia in its war with Ukraine," said Mr Torigian, the US expert.
Beijing's relations with Washington, Europe and neighbouring countries are strained by disputes over technology, security, human rights and the ruling Communist Party's treatment of Hong Kong and Muslim minorities.
Some analysts point to possible parallels between Russia's claims to Ukrainian territory and Beijing's claims to Taiwan. The Communist Party argues that this self-governing island democracy, which broke away from China in 1949 after the civil war, must reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary. The Xi government is stepping up its efforts to intimidate the island by holding regular military exercises and firing missiles into the sea.
China's campaign of diplomatic isolation and military threats has led to opposition from Chinese companies abroad and growing support for Taiwan in the US House of Representatives and European parliaments.
White House National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby, referring to the prospective meeting between the two dictators, said that China and the Russian Federation were undermining the international order that had been established since the Second World War. "Both countries are undermining the international order based on the rules that the United States and many of our allies and partners have established since the end of World War II," he told Fox News.
He also noted that Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping "would like to rewrite the rules of the game in the world", and that Moscow and Beijing are "stepping up their cooperation and relations" in this context.
China is following the West's moves to support Ukraine very closely. The current situation, in which the leaders of the US and the EU countries are "supporting Ukraine as much as necessary", but at the same time seeking Putin's defeat without losing to him, may lead the thick-skinned communist behemoths to take unwise steps to "take back" Taiwan.
This would be a disaster for the entire global security architecture. That is why, we very much hope, everyone understands that neither the US nor the EU has the luxury of allowing Russia to freeze hostilities in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the President of Serbia has stated that the issuance of an international arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin will have negative consequences and will only prolong the war in Ukraine. The ICC accuses Putin of personal responsibility for the abduction of children from Ukraine during Russia's large-scale invasion of the neighbouring country almost 13 months ago, but Serbia's populist President Aleksandar Vucic, who has previously boasted of a personal relationship with the Russian leader, criticised the court's decision.
"I think that issuing a warrant for Putin's arrest without looking into the legal issues will have bad political consequences and says that there is a great reluctance to talk about peace (and) ceasefire in Ukraine," Vucic told reporters in Belgrade.
"My question is: now that you have accused him of major war crimes, who are you going to talk to now?" Vucic said. "Do you really think it is possible to defeat Russia in a month, three months or a year?" - He asked, adding: "I have no doubt that the aim of those who have done this is to make it difficult for Putin to communicate, so that everyone who talks to him knows that he is accused of war crimes."
Yes! Exactly, Vucic! The place of war criminals is in the dock, not at the negotiating table.
Sweden will not find itself in a vulnerable security position even if Finland is the first to join NATO, the Finnish President said on Sunday, as the two Nordic candidate countries negotiate bilateral military pacts with the United States.
"It is possible that Finland will join NATO before Sweden," Sauli Niinistö said in an interview with Swedish public broadcaster SVT on Sunday. "Should we have refused Turkey's offer to ratify the treaty? It sounds a bit silly. It would have been a terribly difficult situation if we had said no to Ankara."
Niinistö was referring to his visit to Ankara on Friday, during which Turkish President Erdogan said his government would speed up the ratification of Finland's NATO membership application, paving the way for the country to join the military bloc, but would not ratify Sweden's application until the disputes between Ankara and Stockholm were resolved.
Both Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership 10 months ago, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, abandoning decades of non-alignment.
The unrest in France continues, and the Kremlin trolls cannot get enough of it.
Protesters damaged the office of the chairman of the conservative Republican Party overnight, apparently threatening to force his party to block Macron's pension reform.
Eric Ciotti tweeted a picture of his office on the French Riviera with broken windows after a paving stone was thrown at it. The vandals also wrote the words "a proposal or a stone", referring to the two no-confidence motions to be voted on in the lower house of Parliament on Monday.
Other officials have also reported acts of vandalism or attempts to intimidate politicians over their support for the pension bill in recent days.
In response, Mr Macron called the Presidents of both chambers of Parliament to confirm his support for all lawmakers and said the government was focused on "taking all measures to protect them", the President's office said on Sunday evening.
E. Macron also reiterated his desire to see the bill "reach the end of its democratic road in a context of respect for all".
Kremlin mouthpiece Peskov said that US drone flights over the Black Sea are a sign of direct US involvement in the conflict with Russia. "It is absolutely obvious what these drones are doing, and their mission is far from being a peaceful mission to ensure the safety of shipping in international waters," the Interfax news agency quoted Peskov as saying in a television interview.
"And in fact we are talking about the direct involvement of these drone operators in the conflict and against us."
Oh. Really? Does Comrade Peskov expect to watch indifferently as Russian marauders rape and burn his neighbours in the next house?
Serhiy Nayev, the commander of the Joint Chiefs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, speaking yesterday about Russia's next steps, predicted that in the near future the enemy will continue to launch attacks with the aim of fully occupying the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, setting up defence lines in the temporarily occupied territories of Kherson and Zaporizhzhya, and redeploying the mobilised soldiers.
"In the future, the aggressor wants to seize new territories in order to create buffer zones and thus provide "security" to the already "incorporated" occupied Ukrainian territories," said the Joint Force Commander.
For their part, the Ukrainian defenders will hold back further advances by the occupiers and inflict the maximum possible loss of manpower and equipment. In addition, Ukraine will build up its combat capabilities for the counter-offensive and the liberation of Russian occupied territories.
"Active units and units must be provided with the latest weapons and military equipment, both locally produced and manufactured in partner countries. In parallel with the supply of the latest combat systems, personnel must be actively trained with the help of military specialists from partner countries", stressed Mr Nayev.
But military analysts at the Institute for the Study of War disagree with the Ukrainian Joint Forces Commander and say that the Russian military's "grand offensive" in Ukraine has probably reached its climax without any significant victories.
They say that the Russians are having problems with their offensive in the Avdiivka and Vuhledar districts. For example, they say, the last attack on Avdiivka caused heavy losses in the ranks of the Russian attackers, equivalent to one company. These and other facts, they say, show the level of desperation of the Russian leadership. Taking all the circumstances into account, analysts believe that Ukraine may now take the initiative on the battlefield and launch a counter-offensive.
Well, here is how those analysts see it. We, too, very much want Ukraine to expel all the armed vagabonds from its occupied territories today. But being realistic, we will allow ourselves to say cynically that the loss of a company or a thousand so-called soldiers means nothing to the war criminals in the Kremlin.
They will go all the way. And they must be stopped by force.
The Russian Federation continues to conduct offensive actions in the directions of Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Maryinka and Shakhtarsk. During the previous day, the Ukrainians repelled 69 enemy attacks in these directions. Bakhmut remains the centre of the fighting.
The Russian Federation has again shelled settlements and critical infrastructure in total disregard of international humanitarian law during the past day.
The Russian occupiers carried out 6 rocket and 13 air strikes and 56 volleys of rocket fire, including on civilian infrastructure in Donetsk and Zaporizhzhya regions. Civilians were killed and injured and civilian infrastructure was damaged.
The likelihood of strikes remains high throughout Ukraine.
In Kherson oblast, the Russian occupiers are threatening civilians with punitive measures for not having a Russian passport. At checkpoints in the occupied territory of Kherson region, Russian marauders are threatening the local population with illegal imprisonment and violent actions for not having a Russian passport at the time of documentary checks.
Over the past day, the Ukrainian Defence Forces' aviation has struck three Buk-M1-2 anti-aircraft missile complexes, 7 strikes on war meat stockpiles and destroyed an enemy ammunition depot.
At the same time, Ukrainian defenders destroyed a Russian Hall UAV.
Rocket troops and artillery units struck a Russian Thor anti-aircraft missile complex, 3 areas of concentration of enemy personnel and military equipment and 3 invaders' radio-electronic warfare vehicles.
South-west of Lysychiansk, pushing from Spirne towards Ivan-Darjivka and trying to hold the fortifications at Zolotarivka and attacking in the direction of Verkhnokamyansk (east of Seversk), the Russian forces decided to commit suicide and were completely annihilated by artillery and other weapons fire. If the Ukrainians are successful in striking Topolivka and in defending their rear in the direction of Berestovo, it is likely that the way will be open for an offensive in the direction of Severodonetsk.
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Pictured here are protesters in France. Source AP Photo/Thomas Padilla.
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