Ukraine, Briefly

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Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin vowed Thursday to “inject stability into a turbulent world,” amid global economic turmoil caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Washington Post reported. The announcement came as the two leaders met in Uzbekistan during a summit. Meanwhile, in a rare acknowledgment, Putin said that he was aware of China’s “questions and concerns” about the conflict but told Xi that he would address all of them in their first face-to-face meeting since the Feb. 24 invasion.

The meeting follows a two-week period that has seen startling defeats for Russia in Ukraine: Ukrainian forces have reclaimed more than 2,300 square miles of Russian-occupied territory in northeastern Ukraine, following a counteroffensive that has rattled many Russian military and state officials, NBC News wrote. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the strategic city of Izium on Wednesday and took part in a ceremony raising the Ukrainian flag in the city’s central square, according to USA Today. Meanwhile, Russian authorities acknowledged the loss of territory following Kyiv’s counteroffensive, calling it “a tactical defeat.”

Other developments this week:

  • Amid territorial losses, Putin is also facing a backlash at home. Earlier in the week, municipal lawmakers in a Moscow district called for the president’s resignation, noting that “everything went wrong” since the start of his second term, Radio Free Europe added. The rare rebuke comes days after seven lawmakers from St. Petersburg demanded the Russian lower chamber of parliament to charge Putin with high treason over his decision to launch his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
  • The condemnations come also as some of Russia’s prominent business leaders and executives have died under mysterious circumstances in the past nine months. Earlier this week, Ivan Pechorin, the managing director of the Far East and Arctic Development Corporation (ERDC) and a point man for Putin on the development of the Arctic, died after he fell off his boat, The Hill reported. The ERDC is in charge of developing the Arctic, a significant source of oil and gas that Russia has prioritized.
  • Meanwhile, a new US intelligence report showed that Russia secretly routed at least $300 million to foreign political parties and candidates in more than two dozen countries since 2014 in an attempt to impact political events outside its borders, the Washington Post added According to the analysis, Moscow planned to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more as part of its clandestine strategy to destroy democratic institutions and boost global political parties perceived as compatible with Kremlin goals.

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