The Latest on the Russia-Ukraine War

Putin says Russia is going through ‘difficult times’

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Supreme Court Chairman Vyacheslav Lebedev at the Kremlin in Moscow, May 22, 2023.

Mikhail Klimentiev | AFP | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin told an audience on Tuesday that Russia was going through “difficult times” as the invasion of Ukraine continued, but said national pride was growing.

“Yes, Russia is going through difficult times right now; things have never been easy, but still, today we see moments where we are consolidated together, our national pride is strengthened,” Putin said at the awards ceremony on Tuesday, according to comments State news agency TASS reported.

Putin said Russia “is doing whatever it takes to strengthen our spiritual foundations and create the conditions for our young people in the economy, manufacturing and education to ensure the unconditional future of our country.”

Putin said Russia had become more self-sufficient in recent years, but he did not cite international sanctions as a reason.

“We have become more self-sufficient. Without self-sufficiency, there is no sovereignty, and self-sufficiency is being achieved in all fields: arts, sciences, industry and, of course, the military,” he said.

Russian officials have often tried to look on the bright side of a slew of international sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and earlier misconduct, from meddling in the 2016 U.S. election to the poisoning of a British ex-spy with a nerve agent

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has wreaked havoc in the country, killing thousands of civilians (the United Nations estimates the figure to be closer to 9,000, but the actual figure is likely much higher) and possibly hundreds of thousands of soldiers on both sides.

— Holly Elliott

No conditions for peace in Ukraine, Kremlin says

A member of the Russian National Guard stands guard on the Moskva River embankment opposite the Kremlin on the morning of the Victory Day parade.

Alexander Nemenov | AFP | Getty Images

The Kremlin said on Wednesday it was too early to talk about a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine, with President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov saying the preconditions for ending the conflict did not yet exist.

Asked by reporters which peace proposals were closest to Russia’s position, Peskov said:

“As long as there are no prerequisites for a peaceful resolution, it is too early to talk about this. Special military operations continue,” he said in comments Russian state news agency TASS reported.

Peskov added that what Russia called a “special military operation” to invade Ukraine would be completed.

“All Russia is thinking about is completing its special military operations: securing its interests, achieving Russia’s objectives through special military operations or other available means.”

Asked whether the Kremlin was ready to negotiate with his counterpart in Kiev, Peskov said it was “unlikely to discuss this issue because any negotiations with the Russian Federation are prohibited.” [in Ukraine]”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said last year that Kiev would not negotiate with Russia while Putin was in office.

Both Russia and Ukraine have “red lines” they say they will not cross when it comes to any possible future peace deal. Kiev said Russia must withdraw all troops from the occupied territories and said it wanted all of its territory returned, including Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

Moscow wants all Ukrainian regions it has illegally annexed to be recognized as Russian territory and wants assurances that Ukraine will not join NATO. On the latter point, Ukraine said, there may be room for compromise if it receives security assurances from international allies.

— Holly Elliott

Russia and China in ‘alliance of convenience’ not ‘deep alliance’, says professor

China and Russia in 'alignment of convenience', not deep alliance, says professor

Joseph Nye, a distinguished service professor emeritus at Harvard University, said Russia and China are in an “alignment of convenience” — not a deep alliance “that lasts 10 or 20 years.”

Nye told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” that both countries view the United States as a “common irritant” rather than a “common enemy.”

China positions itself as peace broker in Ukraine war, sent representatives to Russia, Ukraine and other European countries last week Try to set up a publishes a twelve point peace plan February calls for de-escalation of the war.

A peace plan is unrealistic because “the Chinese don’t want to anger the Russians,” Nye said. But if Ukraine’s planned spring offensive achieves some level of success, Putin may feel that a ceasefire is justified, and China could “force him to accept” something more serious, Nye explained.

The professor said Beijing wanted to “play the role of peacemaker” to regain its position in Europe. “China cares about its soft power, its attractiveness in Europe, and it has a lot to lose because of Russia’s massive support for the invasion of Ukraine.”

But he added that in order to reduce reputational damage, China would have to “put more pressure on Russia”.

— Audrey Wan

Ukraine says working to pull Russian troops out of Zaporozhye nuclear plant

A Russian soldier guards an area of ​​the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in Russia’s military-controlled zone in southeastern Ukraine, May 1, 2022.

Associated Press

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Schmehar said on his official Telegram channel that Kiev was working to withdraw Russian troops from the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.

“We are working with all our partners to force Russia out of the ZNPP and create a demilitarized zone around the factory,” according to a translation by NBC News.

The largest nuclear facility in Europe was seized by Russian forces within weeks of its all-out invasion.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had previously called on Russia and Ukraine to create a demilitarized zone around the facility to mitigate a nuclear disaster.

—Amanda Macias

The Kremlin said of Western support for Ukraine: “The more weapons are supplied, the more dangerous the world becomes

On Thursday, Security Council Vice-President Dmitry Medvedev (pictured here with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2020) told Russian media that the West’s “desire is very simple – to destabilize the political situation, destabilize the country into parts large enough to make an agreement with each of those parts to denuclearize and demilitarize all of them, and then to provide other [security] services,” state news agency TASS reported.

Dmitry Astakhov | AFP | Getty Images

The Kremlin blamed Western governments for supplying Ukraine with weapons, saying it contributed to global security instability.

“The more weapons are supplied, the more dangerous the world becomes,” Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, told reporters. According to Tass news agency.

“The more destructive these weapons become, the more likely it is that what is commonly referred to as a nuclear catastrophe will occur,” he added.

Over the weekend, the Biden administration announced its 38th weapons package for Ukraine, worth about $375 million.

—Amanda Macias

U.S. embassy in Moscow calls for regular consular visits to detained Wall Street Journal reporter

American journalist Evan Gershkovich, arrested on espionage charges, stands in the defendant’s cage April 18, 2023, as a hearing considers an appeal against his arrest.

Natalia Kolesnikova | AFP | Getty Images

The U.S. embassy in Moscow has criticized a Russian court’s decision to extend the pretrial detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich for three months.

The embassy also called for regular consular visits to Gershkovic, adding that two attempts had been denied so far.

The most recent incident happened last week.

“We reiterate that the allegations against him are baseless and demand the immediate release of Mr. Gershkovich,” the U.S. embassy in Moscow wrote in a statement.

—Amanda Macias

No ships have sailed under Black Sea food deal in past four days

A Ukrainian soldier stands in front of a granary at the Black Sea port of Odessa in Odessa, Ukraine, on July 29, as the Ukrainian government waits for a signal from the United Nations and Turkey to start grain shipments during the Russian invasion of Ukraine UN, Turkey signal start of grain shipments, 2022. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

Sweet Corn Flakes | Reuters

No ships leave Ukrainian ports in four days after Black Sea food initiative extended, According to the latest data Provided by a United Nations-backed organization that tracks export activity.

The last ship to leave under the agreement, carrying 6,800 metric tons of wheat, left the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk on May 19 for Italy.

The deal, which reopened three Ukrainian ports and established a humanitarian sea corridor for agricultural exports, was extended Last week, the day before expiration.

—Amanda Macias

Russian court extends WSJ reporter’s detention by three months

American journalist Evan Gershkovich, arrested on espionage charges, stands in the defendant’s cage April 18, 2023, as a hearing considers an appeal against his arrest.

Natalia Kolesnikova | AFP | Getty Images

A Russian court has decided to extend the detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich by three months, NBC News Moscow reported.

Correspondent Gershkovich in Moscow arrested He was indicted by Russian authorities on espionage charges in March.

The decision by Moscow’s Lefortovsky District Court came after Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) ordered Gershkovich to be detained.

The Biden administration and the Wall Street Journal have denied Russian allegations that Gershkovich was espionage in Russia.

—Amanda Macias

Hungary’s Orbán says Ukraine can’t win war, calls on Washington for solution

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán arrives at the final day of the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, June 30, 2022.

Jakub Poldsky | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has spoken out against continued fighting in Ukraine, claiming Ukraine cannot win the war on its own and the West needs to step in to end the conflict.

“Looking at the reality, looking at the numbers, looking at the surrounding environment, looking at the fact that NATO is not ready to send troops, it is clear that the poor Ukrainians on the battlefield are not winning,” Orbán told an economic conference in Qatar. forum.

“That’s my position… escalation should stop and we should stand for peace and negotiations.” He added that the war was the result of a “failure of diplomacy”.

The right-wing populist Orbán has a good relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and has not directly condemned him for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He has also publicly criticized Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, calling him an “adversary” and opposed sanctions against Russia and certain EU aid programs for Ukraine.

“As a country, Ukraine is of course very important, but in the long run, from a strategic point of view, it is a matter of future security in Europe,” Orbán said at the forum.

“It is clear that Europe has no security architecture without the US. This war cannot be stopped…unless the Russians can make a deal with the US. As a European, I am not happy with that. But it is the only way out .

— Natasha Turak

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