Xi Jinping calls Zelenskiy; Ukrainian reporter working for Italian newspaper shot dead by sniper in Kherson
China’s president, Xi Jinping, spoke to Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, on Wednesday for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Kyiv had publicly sought such talks for months. Zelenskiy described the hour’s phone call as “long and meaningful”. Xi told Zelenskiy that China would send special representatives to Ukraine and hold talks with all parties seeking peace, Chinese state media reported.
The White House welcomed the phone call, but said it was too soon to tell whether it would lead to a peace deal.
Russia’s envoy to the UN in Geneva said no real progress had been achieved in resolving issues raised by Moscow over the Black Sea grain deal, which is due to expire next month.
British fighter jets helped in a joint Nato response to intercept three Russian planes, including two SU-27 fighter jets, over the Baltic Sea on Wednesday.
The head of Russia’s private Wagner militia said Ukraine was preparing for an “inevitable” counter-offensive and was sending well-prepared units to the devastated eastern city of Bakhmut, for many months the focal point of fighting.
The Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny says he is being investigated on terrorism charges that could see him sentenced to 30 years in prison, Reuters has reported. The Kremlin critic is serving sentences totalling 11 and a half years on charges including fraud and contempt of court, which human rights groups say were made up to silence him.
Italy has said it wants to play a major role in the reconstruction of Ukraine and urged EU bodies to back the rebuilding. Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella, met the Ukrainian prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, on Wednesday.
A Ukrainian reporter working as a fixer for Italy’s daily newspaper Repubblica was shot dead by snipers in Kherson, while his Italian colleague was wounded, the newspaper said. “Our correspondent Corrado Zunino and his fixer Bogdan Bitik were victims of an ambush by Russian snipers today on the outskirts of Kherson, in southern Ukraine.”
Russia is resettling poor citizens from its remote regions in the occupied east of Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s deputy defence minister. Hanna Mailar said the inward migration to Ukraine was mainly being seen in Luhansk.
In a press conference, the Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, said there was “no use now in saying who is right” in the conflict. In a joint conference with the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, Lula said that “no one can doubt that Brazilians condemn Russia’s [invasion]. The mistake happened and the war started.”
Russia | The Guardian
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