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China Tries to Bring Peace to Ukraine, While Biden Pushes War Crimes

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China's foreign policy appears to have entered a new phase following its long COVID lockdown and last year's Communist Party leadership changes.

China’s foreign policy appears to have entered a new phase following its long COVID lockdown and last year’s Communist Party leadership changes. While China has long sought to influence international affairs as an investor, trader, and development supporter, it has recently presented itself as a global leader capable of promoting global peace.

The recent agreement mediated between Iran and Saudi Arabia is a prime example. Of course, it is portraying itself as a broker of peace in Ukraine, even though its proposal contains overtly pro-Russian elements that some regard as deceptive.

China’s President Xi Jinping plans to visit Moscow next week, providing a major diplomatic boost to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the same day the International Criminal Court announced its intention to charge the Russian leader with war crimes.

Xi’s visit was the latest sign of Beijing’s emboldened diplomatic ambitions, and it came amid rising East-West tensions over Ukraine’s 13-month-long war.

On Friday, the United States said it would oppose any attempt by China at the meeting to propose a cease-fire in Ukraine as “ratification of Russian conquest.”

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby urged Xi to contact Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to obtain his country’s perspective on the conflict and avoid “one-sided” proposals.

China has attempted to portray itself as neutral in the conflict, despite refusing to condemn Moscow’s aggression and declaring a “no-limits” friendship with Russia last year. Beijing has condemned Western sanctions against Moscow, accusing NATO and the US of inciting Putin’s military action.

Throughout the conflict, China has stated that all countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected. However, whether it sympathizes with Moscow’s claims to seize Ukrainian territory is unclear.

Putin issued an arrest warrant by the international court

According to US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin has committed war crimes, and the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to issue an arrest warrant for him is justified.

According to International Criminal Court President Piotr Hofmaski, the ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes concerning his alleged involvement in abducting Ukrainian children.

Russian troops are still engaged in an attritional battle, this time in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

Xi’s visit would be his first meeting with Putin since they met on the sidelines of a regional summit in Uzbekistan in September. Before that, Putin attended the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony and met with Xi just before sending troops into Ukraine.

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, told the Associated Press on Friday that Putin and Xi would meet over an informal dinner on Monday. On Tuesday, officials from both countries will hold broader talks on various topics.

Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s foreign policy adviser, suggested that the talks could result in new approaches to the fighting in Ukraine. “I’m sure our leader and the Chinese leader will exchange assessments of the situation,” he said. “We’ll see what ideas come out of that.”

Kyiv does not simply want Russia to withdraw from its occupied areas since its full-scale invasion in February 2022. Zelenskyy has demanded that Russia withdraw from the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014 in an illegal move condemned by most of the world.

But Putin has made it clear that he has no intention of giving up the Kremlin’s gains. Instead, he emphasized the importance of retaining Crimea on Friday.

“Security issues are the top priority for Crimea and Sevastopol right now,” he said, referring to the Crimean capital. “We will do everything possible to repel any threats.”

china peace ukraine

China Urging Ukraine Talks with Moscow

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang wrote to his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, expressing concern about the war spiraling out of control and urging talks with Moscow on a political solution.

China has “always maintained an objective and fair stance on the Ukraine issue, has committed to promoting peace and advancing negotiations, and calls on the international community to create conditions for peace talks,” according to Qin.

Kuleba later tweeted that he and Qin “discussed the significance of the territorial integrity principle.” According to Ukraine, the main condition for peace is Russia’s withdrawal from occupied areas.

“I emphasized the importance of (Zelenskyy’s) peace formula in ending the aggression and restoring just peace in Ukraine,” wrote Kuleba, who spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the same day.

China called for a cease-fire and peace talks between Kyiv and Moscow last month. Zelenskyy cautiously welcomed Beijing’s participation, but the overture appeared to end there.

According to Yurii Poita, head of the Asia section at the Kyiv-based New Geopolitics Research Network, the Ukrainian government is willing to accept China’s involvement because it hesitates to make another powerful adversary.

“Do not antagonize the dragon when fighting a bear,” Poita advised The Associated Press.

Beijing’s apparent deeper involvement in Ukraine issues comes on the heels of its success last week in mediating talks between Iran and its main Middle Eastern rival, Saudi Arabia. After years of hostility, the two countries agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations.

The agreement places China in a position of leadership in Middle Eastern politics, a position previously held by long-standing global heavyweights such as the United States. As a result, Xi called for China to play a larger role in global affairs management.

VOR NewsBiden has launched military and diplomatic operations against Putin

“A ceasefire now is, effectively, the ratification of the Russian conquest,” Kirby told reporters on Friday. It would “effectively recognize Russia’s gains and its attempt to conquer its neighbor’s territory by force, allowing Russian troops to remain in sovereign Ukrainian territory.”

Russia could use the ceasefire to regroup “so that they can restart attacks on Ukraine at their leisure,” he warned.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Britain would welcome any genuine Chinese effort to “restore Ukraine’s sovereignty.”

“Any peace agreement that does not include Ukraine’s sovereignty and self-determination is not a peace agreement at all,” Sunak’s spokesman Jamie Davies said.

According to Nataliia Butyrska, a Ukrainian political analyst, Beijing’s potential role as a peacemaker may be hampered by its stance on territorial integrity.

In Ukraine, “China does not clearly distinguish between the aggressor and the victim,” she told The Associated Press.

China has territorial issues, including Taiwan, which it claims as its own and intends to take control of by force if necessary.

The destruction of a US drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday after an encounter with Russian fighter jets heightened tensions between the two countries, prompting the first talks between their defense and military chiefs since October.

During a video conference call in late December, Putin invited Xi to visit Russia. According to Putin, the visit will “demonstrate to the entire world the strength of Russian-Chinese ties” and “become the main political event of the year in bilateral relations.”

According to Wang Wenbin, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Xi and Putin will discuss “bilateral relations and major international and regional issues of common concern.”

“With the accelerated evolution of changes of the century, the world is entering a new period of turbulence and reform,” he added.

“As permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and major powers, the significance and impact of China-Russia relations extend far beyond the bilateral sphere.”

The International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant accusing Putin of involvement in child abductions from Ukraine to Russia. It also issued a warrant for his children’s rights commissioner, Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova.

The court lacks police force to enforce warrants, and the Kremlin has stated that it does not recognize the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction.

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Ukraine War: Zelensky Says 31,000 Troops Killed Since Russia’s Full-Scale Invasion

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Volodymyr Zelensky claims 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers were killed during Russia’s full-scale invasion.

The Ukrainian president stated that he would not disclose the number of wounded because it would facilitate Russian military plans.

Typically, the Ukrainian government do not release casualty counts, and other estimates are significantly higher.

The defence minister said half of all Western aid to Ukraine had been delayed, costing lives and land.

Mr Zelensky said on Sunday that he would provide an updated death toll in reaction to Russia’s inflated estimates.

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Ukraine War: Zelensky Says 31,000 Troops Killed Since Russia’s Full-Scale Invasion

“31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have killed in this conflict. Not 300,000, 150,000, or whatever Putin and his dishonest circle claim. But each of these losses is a significant loss to us.”

Speaking about the war’s overall losses, Mr Zelensky stated that tens of thousands of civilians had been killed in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, but the exact figure was unknown.

“I don’t know how many of them died, how many were killed, how many were murdered, tortured, how many were deported.”

Ukraine rarely reports a military death toll, and other estimates suggest a far higher figure.

In August, US officials estimated that 70,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed, with up to 120,000 injured.

In terms of Russian losses, Mr Zelensky stated that 180,000 Russian soldiers were killed and tens of thousands more injured.

BBC Russian, in collaboration with the Mediazona website, has identified the names of more than 45,000 Russian servicemen who have perished. However, it thinks that the total number is larger than that.

In February, the UK military ministry claimed that 350,000 Russian soldiers had been killed or injured.
President Zelensky’s speech came after his defence minister, Rustam Umerov, chastised the country’s

Western partners for delays in military assistance.

“At the moment, commitment does not constitute delivery,” he added.

Ukraine is currently facing several setbacks in its efforts to expel Russia from its land.

Mr. Umerov stated that the lack of supplies put Ukraine at a greater disadvantage “in the mathematics of war”.

“We do everything possible and impossible but without timely supply it harms us,” he told reporters.
Germany warned in November that the European Union’s (EU) promise to provide a million artillery shells by March would not be met.

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Ukraine War: Zelensky Says 31,000 Troops Killed Since Russia’s Full-Scale Invasion

In January, the EU stated that little over half of these would reach Ukraine by the deadline, but the promised total would arrive at the end of 2024.

President Zelensky stated that a lack of armaments was one of the reasons Ukraine’s much-anticipated counter-offensive last year began later.

That counter-offensive was mostly unsuccessful, one of several failures for Kyiv following early victories in repelling Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

Last week, it was revealed that Ukrainian troops had withdrawn from the strategic eastern town of Avdiivka, Moscow’s largest victory in months.

Mr Zelensky further blamed the situation on dwindling Western military shipments.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has claimed that the hold-up in Congress over a $60 billion aid plan for Ukraine led to the town’s fall.

Western leaders travelled to Kyiv on Saturday to demonstrate solidarity with Ukraine as it marked two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion.

There was an announcement that Italy and Canada had inked security agreements with Ukraine, increasing support until the country could join NATO.

Canada’s agreement comprised more than three billion Canadian dollars (£1.7 billion) in financial and military assistance.

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Ukraine War: Zelensky Says 31,000 Troops Killed Since Russia’s Full-Scale Invasion

It is not only Ukraine that is having difficulty funding its military activities. Western diplomats say Russia is also straining to send ammo and weaponry.

“Russia’s domestic ammunition production capabilities are currently insufficient for meeting the needs of the Ukraine conflict,” according to a Western diplomat.

They also stated that Moscow has only been able to augment its supply by exploring alternative sources of ammunition and weaponry, which provides a short-term answer.

Meanwhile, the director of Ukraine’s security service stated on Sunday that 47 Russian spy networks operating within Ukraine were discovered last year.

Vasyl Malik further stated that around 2,000 suspected “traitors” have been arrested since Russia’s full-scale invasion.

SOURCE – (BBC)

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Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral

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NAIROBI, Kenya – Kelvin Kiptum, Kenya’s world marathon record holder, was accorded a state funeral Friday after being killed in a vehicle accident earlier this month, prompting many Kenyans to call on the government to do more to protect the country’s famed sportsmen.

Hundreds of dignitaries, including Kenyan President William Ruto and World Athletics Federation President Sebastian Coe, paid their final respects to Kiptum as he was interred in Naiberi, some 6 kilometres (4 miles) from his village of Chepkorio in western Kenya.

The 24-year-old runner and his Rwandan coach, Gervais Hakizimana, died in a collision two weeks ago near the town of Kaptagat in western Kenya, in the heart of a high-altitude region known as a training ground for Kenya’s and the world’s greatest distance runners.

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Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral

Kiptum was one of the most promising road runners to emerge in recent years, breaking the world record in only his third competitive marathon outing. Just days before his death, the world track body World Athletics certified his record of 2 hours and 35 seconds achieved at the Chicago Marathon last October.

Kiptum intended to break the two-hour marathon record in Rotterdam in April and make his Olympic debut in Paris this year.

His death echoed throughout Kenya, where runners are the biggest sports heroes, and many people have become accustomed to tragedies involving their best athletes, with dozens dying in traffic accidents or as a result of domestic abuse.

According to officials, Kiptum was driving on the night of February 11 when the car went off the road into a ditch and collided with a huge tree. He and Hakizimana died instantly. Sharon Kosgei, another passenger, was also hurt in the incident.

Kiptum, an only child, leaves his wife, Asentah Cheruto, and their two children. A High Court on Thursday declined to postpone the funeral in response to a woman’s legal claim that Kiptum fathered her kid.

kiptum

Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral

Kiptum ran the fastest as a marathon debutant in the 2022 Valencia Marathon. The next year, he won two of the world’s most prestigious marathons: London and Chicago. He set a new course record at the London Marathon in April; months later, he set the global record in Chicago.

He became the latest Kenyan celebrity to die in sad circumstances.

David Lelei, an All-Africa Games silver medalist, was killed in a car crash in 2010. Francis Kiplagat, a marathon runner, was among five individuals who died in a crash in 2018. Nicholas Bett, who won gold in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2015 World Championships, was also killed in a car accident in 2018.

Many Kenyans believe the government should do more to protect athletes who bring international attention to their country, such as providing them with security, drivers, and advisors.

Elizabeth Wairimu, a vegetable trader in the western Kenya town of Nakuru, said the number of athletes killed in road accidents was frightening.

“I am asking myself what is the problem with our athletes,” she said. “The government should look into this… figure out what is killing our athletes. Where are we headed?”

She expressed sadness that the government was rushing through the process instead of Kiptum, who had pledged to build a new house for his parents.

kiptum

Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral

Others in the packed market agreed with Wairimu’s comments.

“The government should not wait until the legends are dead to start caring about their welfare,” said George Thuo, a market seller.

Jimmy Muindi, a six-time Honolulu Marathon winner from Kenya, believes young athletes who reach Kiptum’s level require assistance managing their newfound celebrity status. Former marathoner Isaac Macharia concurred, stating that a support system is required to develop stars.

Jack Tuwei, the president of Athletics Kenya, urged President Ruto and MPs to find a solution to secure the athletes’ well-being and “allow them to have everything they need to be safe.”

Ruto announced that an endowment fund would be established for athletes and that the government would provide Kiptum’s widow with another house and $34,000 in support.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Navalny: Body Returned To Mother, Spokeswoman Says

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The body of leading Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny has been returned to his mother, according to his spokesman.

In a post on X, Kira Yarmysh thanked everyone who asked that the authorities hand over his remains.
“The funeral is yet to take place,” she wrote.

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Navalny: Body Returned To Mother, Spokeswoman Says

Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila, was reportedly told to agree to a “secret” funeral. If she refused, he would be buried in the penal colony where he had died.

She had spent the previous week in the town near the prison where he died, attempting to ascertain the whereabouts of his remains before requesting that they be delivered to her.

After signing a death certificate stating that he died of natural causes, she was allowed three hours to settle on a “secret” burial for her son.

Ms Yarmysh claims his mother was warned that if she did not consent, he would be buried on the grounds of the prison where he had died.

However, Lyudmila appears to have declined to engage with the authorities.

Ms Yarmysh stated that the funeral plans were still unclear.

“We don’t know whether the authorities will interfere with it being carried out in the way the family wants and as Alexei deserves,” she said.

Earlier on Saturday, Yulia Navalnaya, Navalny’s widow, accused Vladimir Putin of holding her late husband’s body “hostage” and demanded its unconditional release.

navalny

Navalny: Body Returned To Mother, Spokeswoman Says

“Give us the body of my husband,” she pleaded in a video message.

“You tortured him living, and now you continue to punish him in death. “You mock the remains of the deceased.”

Ms Navalnaya again accused the Russian president of being responsible for her husband’s death.
The Kremlin has dismissed the charges, calling the Western outrage to the killing “hysterical”.

Navalny died on February 16 in a Russian prison located inside the Arctic Circle.
Details concerning what happened to him are scant. His team has offered security officers €20,000 ($22,000; £17,000) as a prize and aid in fleeing Russia in exchange for information concerning his death in custody.

navalny

Navalny: Body Returned To Mother, Spokeswoman Says

For years, he was the most prominent critic of Russia’s leader.

In August 2020, a team of would-be assassins from the Russian secret services poisoned Navalny with the Novichok nerve agent.

He was airlifted to Germany and recovered before being imprisoned upon his return to Russia in January 2021.

Attempts to commemorate his death have been greeted with a heavy-handed response from Russian authorities, with improvised monuments removed and hundreds jailed.

SOURCE – (BBC)

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