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Ukraine war live updates: Russia flexes its muscles with intercontinental ballistic missile drill; Kyiv waits for China call



Ukraine is still waiting for audience with China’s Xi

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Kyiv still hasn’t heard anything more about a purported call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping leave after a reception in honor of the Chinese leader’s visit to Moscow, at the Kremlin, on March 21, 2023.

Grigory Sysoev | Sputnik | via Reuters

After Xi’s high-profile visit to Russia last week, it was reported that the influential leader — who is largely aligned with Russia and President Vladimir Putin on an ideological and strategic level — would also hold a telephone call with Ukraine’s president, given that China has sought to position itself as a peace broker to end the war.

So far, however, nothing has been arranged, Zelenskyy said.

“We are ready to see him here,” he told the Associated Press news agency Tuesday while en route to Kyiv after a visit to the Sumy region.


“I want to speak with him. I had contact with him before full-scale war. But during all this year, more than one year, I didn’t have.”

When asked if there was any plan at the moment to meet with Xi, Zelenskyy replied “no.”

Holly Ellyatt

Russia flexes its muscles with exercises using Yars intercontinental ballistic missiles

Russia has launched military exercises involving its Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system on Wednesday, the defense ministry said.

“In total, more than 3,000 military personnel and about 300 pieces of equipment are involved in the exercise,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.

The drills involve the Strategic Missile Forces who, the ministry said, “are conducting a comprehensive control check of the Omsk missile formation, as well as “a command and staff exercise with the Novosibirsk missile formation” that’s equipped with the Yars mobile ground-based missile systems.

Russia has often proudly showcased its Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launchers through Moscow during the annual Victory Day military parade.


Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launchers parade through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in central Moscow on May 9, 2022.

Alexander Nemenov | Afp | Getty Images

The ballistic missile can reportedly carry multiple independently targetable nuclear warheads, and is designed to evade missile defense systems up to a range of 7,500 miles, defense experts note.

During the exercises, the missile launchers will be involved in maneuvers in three regions, the ministry said, although it did not specify where.

The defense ministry added that the exercise with the Novosibirsk missile formation will determine “the overall level of combat training of the division, but also assess the capabilities of modern weapons and special equipment entering the formations.”

— Holly Ellyatt

EU countries seek legal option to stop Russian LNG imports

European Union countries agreed to seek a legal option to stop Russian companies sending liquefied natural gas to EU nations, by preventing Russian firms from booking infrastructure capacity.


EU countries’ energy ministers proposed that new EU gas market rules should include the option for governments to temporarily stop Russian and Belarusian gas exporters from bidding up-front for capacity on the infrastructure needed to deliver LNG into Europe.

The proposal is part of countries’ negotiating position on new EU gas market rules. It must be negotiated with the European Parliament – a process that can take months.

The 27-country EU has pledged to ditch Russian gas in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Europe’s pipeline imports of gas from Russia have plunged since the invasion, but LNG imports have increased.

— Reuters

U.S. has not seen signs Russia is closer to using tactical nuclear weapons, White House says

White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, November 28, 2022.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

The United States has not seen any indications that Vladimir Putin is getting closer to using tactical nuclear weapons in his war on Ukraine, just days after the Russian leader said he was moving such weapons into Belarus.


“We’re watching this as best we can. We haven’t seen any movement by Mr. Putin to act on what he pledged he would do,” White House spokesperson John Kirby told reporters about Putin’s statement on Belarus.

“And we haven’t seen any indications that Mr. Putin is leaning towards or getting closer to or indicating any preparations for the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine.”

— Reuters

Russian whose daughter drew anti-war picture gets two years in jail but flees

Russian citizen Alexei Moskalyov, who is accused of discrediting the country’s armed forces in the course of Russia-Ukraine military conflict, attends a court hearing in the town of Yefremov in the Tula region, Russia, March 27, 2023.

SOTA | via Reuters

A Russian who was investigated by police after his daughter drew an anti-war picture at school was sentenced to two years in a penal colony on charges of discrediting the armed forces.

But the whereabouts of the convicted man, Alexei Moskalyov, were unclear. The court said in an official posting on VKontakte, similar to Facebook, that he had fled from house arrest.


Moskalyov has been separated from his 13-year-old daughter Masha since he was placed under house arrest at the start of this month and she was moved to a children’s home in their hometown of Yefremov, south of Moscow.

The case has provoked an outcry among Russian human rights activists and sparked an online campaign to reunite father and daughter.

— Reuters

Zelenskyy visits Ukrainian positions near Russian border in Sumy region

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits positions of Ukrainian border guards near the border with Russia in the Sumy region.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits positions of Ukrainian Border Guards near the border with Russia, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Sumy region, Ukraine March 28, 2023.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits in the town of Okhtyrka, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Sumy region, Ukraine March 28, 2023.


Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits positions of Ukrainian Border Guards near the border with Russia, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Sumy region, Ukraine March 28, 2023.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters

Belarus says NATO’s behavior has pushed it to host Russian nukes

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko visits the Obuz-Lesnovsky training ground in Belarus on Jan. 6, 2023.

Andrei Stasevich | Belta | Reuters

Belarus’ Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that it had decided to host Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons reportedly because of NATO’s “coercive measures” and “the build-up of military potential” in neighboring countries.


“Unilateral coercive measures in politics and the economy are accompanied by the build-up of military potential in the territory of neighboring countries — NATO members in close proximity to our border,” Belarus’ Foreign Ministry said in a statement, reported by Russian news agency Tass.

“Considering these circumstances and the legitimate concerns and risks in the field of national security arising from them, Belarus is taking forced response actions to strengthen its own security and defense capability,” the ministry said.

Russia’s ally Belarus is seen as something of a bulwark for Moscow against NATO, given that it borders Poland, Lithuania and Latvia — all NATO members — and Ukraine to the south, and Russia to the east.

Over the weekend, Russia announced that it would locate tactical nuclear weapons (designed for use on the battlefield rather than mass wholescale destruction) within Belarus, saying President Alexander Lukashenko had made the suggestion to do so.

Minsk and Moscow both insisted the plans would not contravene international non-proliferation agreements, saying the U.S. already did the same thing with its allies and that Belarus would not have control over the weapons.

NATO criticized Russia’s nuclear rhetoric, calling it “dangerous and irresponsible.”

— Holly Ellyatt


Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

Source: CNBC

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