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Putin, Xi hold talks as Russia fires another Ukraine barrage



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KYIV, Ukraine – Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Friday vowed to strengthen bilateral cooperation amid Moscow The 10-month war in Ukrainepassed another night of drone and missile attacks following a massive missile bombardment.

Putin and Xi did not directly mention Ukraine when they held bilateral talks via videoconference. But they praised the strengthening of ties between Moscow and Beijing amid what they called “geopolitical tensions” and a “difficult international situation”.

“Amid growing geopolitical tensions, the importance of the Russia-China strategic partnership is increasing as a stabilizing factor,” Putin said. He invited Xi to visit Moscow in the spring.

In Ukraine, the authorities looked at phone numbers from a Russia launches wide-area missile attack on power plants and other critical infrastructure on Thursday, the largest bombardment in weeks. According to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy chief of staff to the president of Ukraine, four civilians were killed in the attack.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in an update Friday morning that Russian forces had launched a total of 85 missiles and 35 airstrikes on Ukrainian targets in the previous 24 hours. The military report said Russia also carried out 63 attacks from multiple multiple launch missile systems.

After the first wave of missiles on Thursday morning, Russian forces hit Ukraine with Iranian-made Shahed-131/136 drones on Thursday night and early Friday, all of which were shot down, Ukrainian Air Force said.

Some are aimed at Kyiv, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Friday. According to Klitschko, of the seven kamikaze drones launched over the Ukrainian capital, two were shot down while approaching the city and five were shot down over Kyiv itself.

He said windows in one residential building and one non-residential building were damaged by falling debris, but no casualties were reported.

Further east, the Ukrainian military said its forces shot down 10 attack drones in the central eastern Dnipropetrovsk province and the southeastern Zaporizhzhia provinces.

Nearly 30 Russian artillery shells were fired at Marhanets in Dnipropetrovsk province on Thursday night, according to Regional Governor Valentyn Reznichenko. Marhanets is located just across the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Shtupun said the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region continues to be the main target of Russia’s offensive in the eastern industrial zone.

Other densely populated areas in Donetsk, neighboring Luhansk province, Chernihiv, Sumy and Kharkiv provinces in northern Ukraine, and Zaporizhzhia and Kherson provinces in the south were all hit.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address that Russia has not abandoned its plan to capture all of Donetsk, aiming to accomplish its goal by New Year’s Day. Zelenskyy also warned the Ukrainians that there could be another large-scale air strike.

“Two more days to go this year. Perhaps the enemy will try again to make us celebrate the new year in the dark. Perhaps, the occupiers are planning to make us suffer with further attacks on our cities,” he said. “But whatever their plans are, we know one thing about ourselves: we will survive. We will. We will drive them out. There is no doubt about that. And they will be punished for this terrible war.”

During a phone call with Xi, Putin noted that military cooperation has a “special place” in the relationship between the two countries. He said the Kremlin aims to “strengthen cooperation between the armed forces of Russia and China”.

By contrast, Xi said through an interpreter that “in the face of a difficult and not so simple international situation,” Beijing is willing to “strengthen strategic cooperation with Russia, providing each other with opportunities.” development, becoming a global partner for the sake of our peoples and for the sake of stability around the world.”

Relations between Moscow and Beijing has grown stronger since Putin sent troops into Ukraine on February 24. Just last week, Moscow and Beijing held joint naval exercises in the East China Sea.

China, which has promised an “unlimited” friendship with Russia, has categorically refused to criticize Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, blaming the United States and NATO for provoking the Kremlin, and condemning its actions. severe sanctions against Russia.

In contrast, Russia has strongly supported China amid tensions with the US over Taiwan.

Russia and China are both facing domestic difficulties. Putin is trying to maintain domestic support for a war that has dragged on longer than expected, while the rising number of COVID-19 infections has overwhelmed hospitals in China.

Follow AP’s report on the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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