Ukraine Latest: Kishida Invites Zelenskiy to G-7 Summit

(Bloomberg) – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, paying his first visit to Kiev since the Russian invasion, offered strong support to Ukraine and invited President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to attend the G7 summit in mid-May. Zelenskyj agreed to participate in the meeting via video link.

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Vladimir Putin hailed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s proposal to end the war in Ukraine as a possible blueprint for peace, as leaders promised ever-closer ties.

The Chinese proposal is broadly in line with Russia’s intentions and “could be used as a basis for a resolution if Kiev and the West are ready,” the Russian leader said on the second day of Xi’s three-day visit.

Although Selenskiky has not dismissed China’s initiative, he said Tuesday night that a ceasefire, one of its key elements, would not work. The US and other nations that support Ukraine have rejected the plan, which they say would allow Russia to keep the territory it has seized in Ukraine. A US spokesman attacked Xi for “parroting” Russia’s position.

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Important Developments

  • Kishida offers support to Ukraine and invites Zelenskyy to G-7
  • Ukraine gets $15.6 billion in IMF loan, first nation at war
  • After talks with Xi, Putin welcomes China’s proposals for Ukraine
  • The US will accelerate the delivery of Abrams tanks to Ukraine
  • Only seven NATO allies hit spending target despite Russia’s war
  • These six traders were the new kings of Russian oil in December

(All times CET)

Kishida invites Zelenskyy to the G-7 summit (2 a.m.)

Kishida, the last leader of a Group of Seven country to visit since the attack on Ukraine more than a year ago, invited Zelenskyy to the G-7 summit in May.

He made the trip to Kiev after stopping in New Delhi to pressure Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to join other leaders and avoid Russia over its aggression. Japan will host the G-7 summit in Hiroshima.

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“Japan will support Ukraine until peace is restored,” Kishida said at a press conference with Zelenskyy in Kiev on Tuesday. Kishida’s visit marks a departure from Japanese precedent and is the clearest sign of Tokyo’s support for Zelenskyy yet.

Zelenskyi said he encouraged Kishida to join Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction.

IMF Approves $15.6 Billion War Loan (1:10 a.m.)

Ukraine won staff support for a $15.6 billion International Monetary Fund loan, providing the first loan to a nation at war in the institution’s 77-year history.

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The IMF and the government in Kiev have reached a staff-level agreement on a comprehensive four-year lending program, the Washington-based lender said in an emailed statement Tuesday. The agreement is expected to be finalized with the approval of the IMF’s Board of Directors in the coming weeks.

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White House slams Xi for ‘parroting’ Russia’s stance (8:41 p.m.)

John Kirby, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, slammed Xi for flying “all the way to Moscow” without speaking to Zelenskyy.

“And he and his regime continue to repeat Russian propaganda that this is kind of a war by the West against Russia, that it’s some kind of existential threat to Mr. Putin,” Kirby said. “It’s just a bunch of Malarkey. Ukraine posed no threat to anyone, let alone Russia.”

Kirby said Xi can show China’s impartiality “if he is ready to talk to President Zelenskyy and ready to win over the other side, and if future potential negotiations can incorporate Ukrainian views and perspectives.”

Zelenskyy says China has not yet confirmed talks with Xi (6:42 p.m.)

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So far Zelenskyy has only received signals but no concrete proposals for a possible talk with China’s Xi, the Ukrainian leader said at a meeting in Kiev with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who was the last leader of the Group of Seven since the Russians to enter the country Ukraine traveled The invasion started over a year ago.

Kishida invited Zelenskyy to the G-7 leaders’ summit in Hiroshima in May, and Zelenskyy said he would attend online. The Japanese prime minister also said he would keep in touch with China regarding Russian aggression and the situation in Ukraine.

Putin warns Britain against sending depleted uranium shells to Ukraine (17:46)

Russia will be forced to react if Britain goes ahead with its plans to supply Ukraine with depleted uranium shells, Putin said.

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“When this happens, Russia must respond appropriately, bearing in mind that the ‘collective West’ is beginning to use weapons with a nuclear component,” Putin said in a statement. The Russian leader, who has repeatedly threatened such reactions, did not elaborate.

Britain said it will supply the armor-piercing shells along with Challenger 2 tanks, which will be sent to Ukraine. Depleted uranium ammunition does not cause a nuclear explosion, but instead uses the metal’s high density to penetrate armor. The US used the weapon in its invasion of Iraq, prompting criticism that uranium poses health risks.

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China plan could become basis for war settlement: Putin (5:30 p.m.)

China’s peace proposal can be taken as the basis for a future settlement in Ukraine if Kiev and its western allies are willing, Putin said after talks with Xi.

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“Many of the provisions of the peace plan proposed by China are in line with Russian approaches and could be used as a basis for a resolution if Kiev and the West are willing,” Putin said alongside Xi at the Kremlin. They were his most detailed comments on the blueprint to date.

Russia’s Pushkin Museum Second to Change Director (4:46 p.m.)

Russia appointed a new director for the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, the second major cultural institution to change leadership this year, amid a war drive for patriotic values. Marina Loshak, director of the Pushkin Museum for ten years, resigned. According to Agenstvo, her successor, Elizaveta Likhacheva, used to be a member of a pro-Kremlin youth group that staged protests against cultural workers and worked for the interior ministry.

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The respected director of Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery was ousted from her post last month in favor of the daughter of a general in the FSB intelligence agency.

Russia Raids Nobel Laureate Human Rights Group (4:12 p.m.)

Russian police searched the homes of several leaders of the human rights group Memorial and launched a criminal case against one of them, the organization announced on its Telegram channel.

Memorial Deputy Chairman Oleg Orlov faces up to three years in prison for repeated violations of the law against “discrediting” the actions of the army in Ukraine. Russian authorities last year ordered the closure of the memorial, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in October, amid a campaign of repression against critics of the Kremlin invasion of Ukraine.

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Russia Extends Pledged Oil Cuts Until June: Novak (3:49 p.m.)

Russia will keep its oil production at a reduced level until June, taking into account the current market situation, said Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

The country pledged last month to cut its pure crude oil production by 500,000 barrels a day in March in response to Western energy sanctions. Russia is currently close to making that pledged cut, Novak said in a statement, without giving further details.

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NATO sees Russia-China ties ‘getting closer’ (3:10 p.m.)

The meeting between Xi and Putin is “part of a pattern” in which China and Russia are “getting closer and closer,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.

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Stoltenberg said China must understand Ukraine’s perspective and deal with Zelenskyy if it is serious about brokering peace, noting that Beijing has still not condemned Russia’s illegal war of aggression. Still, China’s proposal contains some elements it supports, including nuclear safety and the importance of territorial integrity, he said.

The alliance chief said NATO still hasn’t seen evidence that China has provided lethal aid to Russia, despite requests from Moscow and signs Beijing is considering complying with those demands.

Only seven NATO allies hit spending target despite Russia’s war (2:42 p.m.)

Only one other NATO ally last year met the military alliance’s goal of spending at least 2% of GDP on defense, with a total of seven countries meeting the commitment despite new pledges following the Russian invasion.

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The US, Britain and Poland agree with NATO’s goal, along with Estonia, Greece and Latvia. The new entry is Lithuania, according to spending estimates in NATO’s 2022 Annual Report released on Tuesday. The total increased from three allies when the pledge was agreed in 2014.

US to Expedite Abrams Shipments to Ukraine (2:11 p.m.)

President Joe Biden’s administration will accelerate shipments of US M1 Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine by nine months, with Kiev’s armed forces now expected to receive them by autumn, people familiar with the matter said.

The people who asked not to be named when discussing internal deliberations said the Pentagon would announce the accelerated schedule later Tuesday. The move underscores the urgency with which the US and its allies are supporting Ukraine in the face of continued missile and artillery fire from Russia. The US has announced that it will send 31 Abrams to Kiev.

Read more: The US will speed up the delivery of Abrams tanks to Ukraine

Ukraine Approves $14 Billion Increase in Defense Spending (1:21 p.m.)

Ukraine’s parliament has approved an increase in the state defense budget by 518 billion hryvnia ($14 billion), MP Roksolana Pidlasa said on Facebook. The money will be used for military purposes, including paying soldiers, buying food and equipment, including drones.

(An earlier version corrected the spelling of Xi.)


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