China's Concerns Over Ukraine, Putin Concede in Sign of Friction

Kyiv: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he understood China’s Xi Jinping had worries about the circumstance in Ukraine, a surprising affirmation of friction with Beijing over the war after a week of staggering Russian losses on the ground.

Since Russia’s attack, China has trampled a careful line, criticizing Western sanctions against Russia but stopping short of endorsing or assisting in the tactical campaign.

Xi didn’t refer to Ukraine in his public remarks, nor was it mentioned in a Chinese readout of their meeting, which occurred in Uzbekistan on the sidelines of a regional summit.
Beijing’s support is widely seen as essential for Moscow, which needs markets for its energy commodities and sources to import high-tech merchandise as it faces sanctions imposed by the West.

The Russian president’s remarks suggested a Chinese shift towards a more critical position, in private at least. Ian Bremmer, a political science professor at Columbia University, said they were the “first public sign of Putin recognizing pressure to back down”.

“Russia has become a pariah to the G7 because of their invasion. China wants no part of that,” he wrote on Twitter, referring to the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations.

White House spokesman John Kirby said China should reject Russia’s invasion: “The whole world should be lined up against what Mr. Putin is doing,” Kirby told CNN. “This is not the time for any kind of business as usual with Mr. Putin.”

In Kyiv, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, held talks with President Volodymyr Zelensky where she told him Ukraine’s accession process to the European Union was well on track.

“It’s impressive to see the speed, the determination, the process with which you are progressing,” she said.

After a week of the fastest Ukrainian gains since the war’s early weeks, Ukrainian officials said Russian forces were now fortifying defenses and it would be hard for Kyiv’s troops to maintain the pace of their advance.

Putin has yet to publicly comment on the setback suffered by his forces after Ukrainian troops made a rapid armored thrust through the front-line last week. Russian troops have abandoned dozens of tanks and other armored vehicles in haste.

Kyiv says it recaptured more than 8,000 sq km (3000 sq miles), nearly equivalent to the size of the island of Cyprus. The speed of the advance has lifted Ukrainian morale, pleased Western backers who have provided arms, intelligence, and training, and raised hopes of further significant gains before the winter sets in.

Serhiy Gaidai, governor of Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region, said it would still be a tough fight to wrest control of his region back from Russia, which recognizes it as an independent state controlled by separatists.

Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s national security and defense council, said in an online post: “We should avoid euphoria. There is still a lot of work to be done to liberate our lands, and Russia has a large number of weapons.”

There was no let-up either in Russia’s daily missile strikes on Ukraine, a day after it fired cruise missiles at a reservoir dam near Kryvyi Rih, President’s Zelenskiy’s hometown.

Officials in the city of Kharkiv said Russian shells had hit a high-pressure gas pipeline, while a rescue operation was in progress in the city of Bakhmut with four people suspected to be trapped under rubble after a strike, Pavlo Kyrylenko, the Donetsk regional governor, said.

Russian troops had launched attacks on several settlements on the Kharkiv border in the past 24 hours, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said on Thursday.

But England’s defense ministry said in an update that Ukraine’s forces were proceeding to consolidate their control of newly liberated land in the region.

The US on Thursday imposed new endorses on 22 individuals and two entities that had facilitated Russia’s war in Ukraine, the Treasury Department said.

Russian Foreign Ministry representative Maria Zakharova had earlier cautioned Washington to tread carefully, saying any decision to supply Kyiv with longer-range missiles for U.S.-made HIMARS systems would cross a “red line” and make the United States “a direct party to the conflict”

By Archana

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