Putin welcomes China’s Xi to Kremlin
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow Monday for a three-day visit. Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin met at the Kremlin. Xi is making his first visit to Russia in four years.
Xi was the first leader to meet Putin since the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for the Russian leader on Friday, March 17. The 123 countries that are party to the Rome Statute, are obliged to detain Putin if he travels to one of them. Putin and Xi had a one-on-one meeting in the afternoon, followed by an “informal lunch”. The meetings with larger delegations will be held Tuesday, the Kremlin said.
On the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale war, China unveiled its peace proposal, demonstrating its stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The 12-point document calls for a cease-fire and peace talks, but does not include a demand for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine’s territory. U.S. President Joe Biden dismissed China’s peace proposal, saying that he had seen “nothing in the plan that would indicate that there is something that would be beneficial to anyone other than Russia.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi said that the fact that China started talking about Ukraine “is not bad.” But the question is what follows the words. “The question is in the steps and where they will lead to,” Zelenskyi told a news conference on the one-year mark of the full-scale Russian invasion.
U.S. to send USD 350 million worth of military aid to Ukraine
The United States is authorizing another USD 350 million in military aid for Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday.
The military assistance package includes more ammunition for U.S.-provided HIMARS and howitzers, as well as ammunition for Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, HARM missiles, anti-tank weapons, riverine boats, and other equipment, the statement reads.
“We applaud the more than 50 countries that have come together to provide support for Ukraine as it defends its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia alone could end its war today. Until Russia does we will stand united with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” Blinken said.
On March 3, the U.S. announced a USD 400 million aid package for Ukraine.
EU seals deal to provide million artillery shells to Ukraine
Hungary is the only member state that refused to do so. On Monday, March 20, the European Union member states agreed to supply Ukraine with at least one million artillery shells over the next year. These are the rounds of 155mm caliber ammunition, Estonia’s Defense Minister, Hanno Pevkur, said.
Hungary will not send weapons to Ukraine, but will not stop the others from doing so, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said. Hungary will use its one percent contribution to the European Peace Facility (the equivalent of approx. EUR 10 million) to ensure the stability of the Western Balkans and curb the migration, he added.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell hailed the decision to send Ukraine one million rounds of ammunition as “historic”.
The deal is based on an EU-proposed three-track plan to spend EUR one billion to reimburse member states that supply Ukraine with ammunition, via the EU’s European Peace Facility, to spend another EUR one billion on shells from stockpiles and EUR one billion more on joint procurement, Borrell said.
German Marder infantry fighting vehicles on way to Ukraine, German Defense Minister says
A delivery of German Marder infantry fighting vehicles is on its way to Ukraine, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on the sidelines of an EU Foreign and Defense Ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday, quoted by CNN.
Germany announced in January it would provide Ukraine with 40 of the Marder vehicles. Later that month, it said Ukrainian soldiers had arrived in Germany for training on the vehicles. Germany earlier said it will deliver Marder vehicles and Leopard tanks in Ukraine before the end of March.
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