Ukraine LIVE: China ships assault rifles, drones and body armour to Russia – Express

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firms have sent entities equipment through a roundabout route via NATO member Turkey and the UAE, data has shown. Customs data from ImportGenius has documented a series of shipments from the companies – including one connected to the Chinese government in Beijing – between June and December 2022 that could be used for military purposes. Among the shipments are approximately 1,000 assault rifles, with drone parts and body armour also included. The data, first obtained by Politico, shows that state-owned defence contractors China North Industries Group Corporation Limited sent the rifles in June 2022 to Russian firm Tekhkrim, which does business with the Russian state and military.
But the CQ-A model firearms that have previously seen use in the hands of Chinese paramilitary police were tagged as “civilian hunting rifles”. The data shows the weapons are not earmarked for use in Ukraine, making them “dual-use” shipments of commercial goods that could find their way to the battlefield.
THIS BLOG IS NOW CLOSEDXi Jinping and Vladimir PutinGoodnight. We’ll have more regular Ukraine war updates tomorrow.
Britain has welcomed the issuing by the International Criminal Court of an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes in Ukraine.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said it was essential that those at the top of the regime in Moscow were held to account for the atrocities which have taken place since the invasion a year ago.
The Hague-based ICC said it was issuing the warrant for the arrest of the Russian leader over the alleged abduction and deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia.
The charges were immediately dismissed by the Kremlin – which does not recognise the ICC – as “legally void”.
However, Mr Cleverly said in a statement posted on social media: “Those responsible for horrific war crimes in Ukraine must be brought to justice.
“We welcome the step taken by the independent ICC to hold those at the top of the Russian regime, including Vladimir Putin, to account.
“Work must continue to investigate the atrocities committed.”
Russian fighter pilots involved in an incident with a US drone that resulted in its crash will be given state awards, the Defence Ministry announced Friday. The move appears to signal Moscow’s intention to adopt a more aggressive stance toward future U.S. surveillance flights.
The U.S. military said it ditched the Air Force MQ-9 Reaper in the Black Sea on Tuesday after a pair of Russian fighter jets dumped fuel on the surveillance drone and then one of them struck its propeller while it was flying in international airspace. Moscow has denied that its warplanes hit the drone, alleging that it crashed while making a sharp maneuver. It said that its aircraft reacted to a violation of a no-flight zone Russia has established in the area near Crimea amid the fighting in Ukraine.
On Friday, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu lauded the pilots for preventing the drone from flying into the area that Moscow has banned for flights. The Defence Ministry emphasised that the ban was “in line with international norms.”
Moscow’s announcement comes a day after the U.S. military released a declassified 42-second color footage showing a Russian Su-27 fighter jet approaching the back of the US drone and releasing fuel as it passes in what appeared to be aimed at blinding the drone’s optical instruments to drive it from the area.
The presence of US drones in the United States could potentially trigger a response from Russia in the event of an “accidental ‘engagement’ over the skies”, a security expert said. The warning comes days after a $32 million MQ-9 drone crashed into the Black Sea sparking a verbal skirmish between Moscow and Washington.
Geopolitical expert Charles Denyer told the US’s commitment to helping Ukraine is inevitably increasing the risk of the conflict expanding.
Denyer said: “Both China and Russia are without question playing aggressively with the Biden administration, and they’re noticing a rather soft US stance at times.
“It’s doubtful any serious retaliation would be taken by the Russians, regardless, it illustrates the growing complexities the United States is facing in its support of Ukraine.”
Leo Varadkar praised the US for leading the free world in opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking in Washington, Ireland’s Taoiseach said Russia was attempting to deny the people of Ukraine “any kind of future through its brutal invasion”.
He added: “While Ireland is a militarily neutral country, we’re not politically neutral in the face of violations of international law and human rights.
“The past 13 months have united us all who believe in freedom and democracy, and the rule of law and the UN Charter.
“We stand with Ukraine because silence means surrender and we will not stay silent when liberty, freedom and fundamental human rights are being attacked.”
u201cMadame @VP, in particular, today, I want to acknowledge the central role which the United States has played in the peace process on our island, driving it forward at critical junctures, when few others could have.u201d
Russians believed to be spies working for Putin to tamper with Ukrainian supply lines have been caught in Poland.
Polish authorities said on Thursday that the nation’s security services detained nine members of a Russian espionage ring, alleging they were preparing acts of sabotage in Poland and had been monitoring railroad routes used for the transport of weapons into Ukraine.
Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński said the Internal Security Agency arrested the suspects on Wednesday.
He said at a news conference in Warsaw that the suspects were preparing “sabotage actions aimed at paralysing the supply of equipment, weapons and aid to Ukraine“.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that Russia does not recognise the International Criminal Court and considers its decisions “legally void.”
He added that Russia considers the court’s move to issue an arrest warrant Friday against Russian President Vladimir Putin “outrageous and unacceptable.”Kremlin spokesman Dmitry PeskovA top British international lawyer investigating Russian war crimes in Ukraine has admitted he was “shocked and surprised” at the “level of design” employed by Putin’s security services to “effectively enslave” the Ukrainian civilian populations under their occupation, despite decades of investigating such incidents across the world.
Speaking to, Wayne Jordash KC, who is leading a team tasked with assisting Ukraine’s Office of the Prosecutor General in uncovering, documenting and analysing evidence of war crimes, said they had seen more than 1,000 witness statements concerning Russian torture and that there was compelling evidence to suggest these brutal actions were state-orchestrated.
Mr Jordash’s comments came just moments before the international criminal court in The Hague issued arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin and his children’s rights commissioner Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova for the “unlawful deportation” of Ukrainian children.
The court’s pre-trial judges assessed on Friday there were “reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population and that of unlawful transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, in prejudice of Ukrainian children”.
Keir Starmer MP, Leader of the Labour Party, commenting on the International Criminal Court issuing an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, said: “I welcome the International Criminal Court’s decision to open war crime cases against Vladimir Putin and other senior Russian figures for their barbaric actions in Ukraine.
“Today’s announcement sends an important message: there will no hiding place for Putin and his cronies and the world is determined to make them pay for what they have done.
“I have seen first-hand the destruction and devastation waged on the brave people of Ukraine. These cases are just the tip of the iceberg. One day Putin will face justice: until then, the focus of all who believe in Ukraine‘s liberty and freedom must continue to be on ensuring her victory.”Labour leader Sir Keir StarmerA Russian spy who was reselling drones bought by volunteers to send to Donetsk has been captured and jailed, the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has reported.
Ukrainian activists from the Cyber Resistance group uncovered what appear to be messages from Slack, a communication platform, in which Mikhail Luchin spoke in favour of pro-Russian paramilitary groups.
Russian Mikhail Luchin was described as a “special military operation volunteer”, in reference to the phrase the Kremlin adopts when referencing the invasion of Ukraine.
He is also believed to have been a drone operator who would film Russian attacks on Ukrainian soil.
The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for his country’s aggression in Ukraine.
Putin’s forces have been accused of war crimes in Ukraine, having targeted civilian infrastructure and tortured and killed civilians.
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine shocked the world last year, and now prosecutors want to see him brought to justice.
This comes days after prosecutor Karim Khan brought two cases of war crimes to the ICC.
Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to visit Moscow next week, a major boost for Russian President Vladimir Putin amid sharpening East-West tensions over the war in Ukraine and the latest sign of Beijing’s emboldened diplomatic ambitions.
Western leaders have tried to isolate Putin over the conflict, now in its 13th month. Xi’s trip, announced Friday, is a diplomatic shot in the arm to the Russian leader at a time when his troops are bogged down in a battle of attrition, focused now on Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.
The U.S. on Friday said it would oppose any effort by China at the meeting to propose a ceasefire in Ukraine as the “ratification of Russian conquest.”
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby encouraged Xi to reach out to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to get his country’s perspective on the war and to avoid any “one-sided” proposals.
The Ukrainian capital of Kyiv has pushed back its curfew to midnight to boost the local economy, the mayor annoucned on Friday.
Just in time for spring. Kyiv Mayor Klitschko says the military curfew in Ukraine’s capital that’s been in place since Russia launched its full-scale invasion last year will be relaxed by an hour starting March 26, a move that’ll help revive local biz and no doubt boost morale.

Britain has called on China to urge Russia to withdraw from Ukraine as Chinese President Xi Jinping announced he will visit Vladimir Putin in Moscow next week.
The Kremlin and China’s foreign ministry have both confirmed the Chinese leader’s official visit, scheduled for 20-22 March, which Russia said was “at the invitation of Vladimir Putin”.
Ahead of the visit, a spokesperson for the UK’s prime minister, Rishi Sunak, told reporters:
“If China wants to play a genuine role in restoring sovereignty to Ukraine, then we would obviously welcome that.
“We’re clear that any peace deal which is not predicated on Ukraine’s sovereignty and self determination is not a peace deal at all. So we will continue to call on China, as we have done before, to join other countries across the world in calling on Putin to withdraw his troops.”

Here are some of the latest photos from Mariupol, which has been under Russian occupation since last May.
It is believed war crimes have been committed in the city but information is impossible to accrue.

A crane pulls down damaged buildings in Mariupol Two citizens work outside a ruined apartment block

Russia has honoured the two Su-27 fighter jet pilots that intercepted and later downed a US drone near Russian airspace, the defence ministry has said.
Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defence minister, personally presented awards to the pilots.
The drone crashed into the Black Sea on Tuesday after being intercepted by Russian jets, in the first known direct military encounter between Russia and the United States since Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago.
The move was labelled “reckless” by the US, who have said they will be unable to recover the drone.

#Shoigu presented state awards to Su-27 fighter pilots who escorted the American MQ-9 Reaper drone before it crashed in the #BlackSea, the #Russian Defense Ministry said.
The British Ministry of Defence has released its latest update on changes to the frontline in Ukraine.
You can see their updated map below.
The illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is continuing.

The map below is the latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine u2013 17 March 2023.

Find out more about the UK government’s response:

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Here are some of the latest photos from Chasiv Yar in Ukraine.Ukrainian soldiers drive towards the front lines in Chasiv YarA woman goes outside to cook in Chasiv Yar, where there is no electricity

Slovakia will send Mig-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, its Prime Minister said on Friday, following the lead of Poland, who pledged four of their fleet this week.
Reuters reports the fleet of 11 MiG-29 planes was retired last summer, and most of them are not in operational condition.

Russia carried out four airstrikes on the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka on Thursday, destroying an apartment block.
Andriy Yermak, a top Presidential advisor, posted a picture of the devastation on his Telegram.
Additionally, he wrote: “The Russians carried out 4 airstrikes on Avdiivka. There are no victims.
“Shelling of the city takes place around the clock. The fighting for Avdiivka continues.”

Avdiivka, Donetsk region.
The result of four russian air strikes today.#russiaisaterroriststate

ud83dudcf7 Office of the President of Ukraine
Four people died in the devastating fire that engulfed a Russian security service building on Thursday in the city of Rostov-on-Don.
Local reports suggested there had been “powerful explosions” in the building before it erupted into flames.
The city of Rostov-on-Don is located just 75 miles from the southeast border of Ukraine.
Four people died in the #FSB border guard building in #Rostov-on-Don, local media reported.

Belgium will send 240 Volvo military trucks to Ukraine, with the first few arriving as early as the next week or two, a Belgian newspaper has reported.
Ukraine‘s military will use the tracks to transport troops and equipment to the eastern front line, according to De Standaard.
“The focus is often on arms deliveries, but the Ukrainian units are also really waiting for these trucks. During a conflict, logistics are at least as important as weapons,” the Belgian defence ministry said.
Belgian defence minister Ludivine Dedonder said that in addition to delivering trucks, Belgium would also send 100 instructors to train the Ukrainian military, De Standaard wrote.

Russia launched 5 missiles and 18 airstrikes over the past 24 hours, Ukraine’s general staff has reported this morning in a daily update, with one woman killed in Donetsk Oblast.
The Russian attack on Kostyantynivka in Donetsk oblast injured six civilians and damaged 20 buildings, including a school among other civilian infrastructure. The Russian forces also carried out over 100 attacks from multiple launch rocket systems during the past day.
As a result of Russia’s shelling, a 50-year-old woman was killed in the village of Pivdenne, and a 40-year-old man was injured in the village of Pivnichne.

The Kremlin has confirmed that Chinese President Xi Jinping will make a three-day visit to Russia next week to meet with Vladimir Putin.
Xi will be in Russia from March 20 to March 22, the Kremlin said.
“During the talks, they will discuss topical issues of further development of comprehensive partnership relations and strategic cooperation between Russia and China,” the Kremlin said.
“A number of important bilateral documents will be signed,” Reuters reports it added.

Chinese spokesperson Wang Wenbin, at a regular news briefing, said the objective of the visit is to further deepen bilateral trust.
China’s foreign ministry said Xi will exchange opinions on major international and regional issues with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit.
You can read the full story .

Russian forces have “temporarily depleted the deployed formations’ combat power” in Ukraine, leading to a situation where it is “not currently sustainable” to launch offensives, the British Ministry of Defence has claimed.
In its latest daily update on Twitter, the MoD said Russia is being forced to wait for munition. and personnel resupplies.
It said, in the meantime, that “commanders will likely be forced to choose between carrying out offensive operations and conducting a credible defence of the full line.”

Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 17 March 2023.

Find out more about Defence Intelligence’s use of language:

ud83cuddfaud83cudde6 #StandWithUkraine ud83cuddfaud83cudde6
Good morning from London. I’m Liam Doyle, I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on the war in Ukraine. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.
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