Russian President Vladimir Putin said Washington’s decision to supply long-range missiles to Ukraine was “a mistake.” His comments came during a news conference at China’s Belt and Road Initiative forum in Beijing.
The Kremlin leader said it was an error to have become “more and more personally drawn into” the conflict after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday that Kyiv had fired the first US-supplied, long-range ATACMS missile.
During Putin’s visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping is reported to have praised the ties between Beijing and Moscow as the pair look to strengthen their “no limits” partnership.
In Ukraine, lethal airstrikes killed civilians in the city of Zaporizhzhia overnight.
Russia and Ukraine blamed each other for the casualties in Zaporizhzhia. Ukrainian officials attributed blame to “racist terrorist forces,” while a Moscow-installed Russian official in the city said the destruction came as result of “clumsy actions” by the Ukrainian armed forces.
At least seven killed in Russian strikes, Ukrainian officials say
Russian strikes killed at least seven civilians overnight and on Wednesday, according to updates from Ukrainian officials.
The deputy mayor of the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia said on Telegram that four people were killed overnight, as two more bodies were found during search and rescue operations.
A Moscow-installed official in the part of the region controlled by Russia blamed the strikes on Ukraine.
Two deaths were reported by an official in Kherson, and one was reported in the Dnipropetrovsk region.
Ukrainian forces also launched at least 18 drone strikes on Russian field camps in the Kursk region of Russia, Ukrainian security service sources reportedly told the Kyiv Post and Ukrinform.
The drones hit military field camps near the village of Postoyalye Dvory, which is around 110 kilometers (68 miles) from the Ukrainian border, the Post reported.
Up to 3,000 Russian soldiers and approximately 80 units of military equipment are stationed in the area, according to the reports.
“Firstly, this of course causes harm and creates an additional threat. Secondly, we will of course be able to repel these attacks. War is war,” Putin said, referencing Ukraine’s use of US ATACMS. “Most importantly, it fundamentally lacks the capacity to change the situation on the line of contact at all … This is another mistake by the United States.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday that Ukraine had fired the first US-supplied, long-range ATACMS missile. Zelensky had repeatedly asked Washington for the weapons to help in its offensive.
Putin also criticized the US involvement in the war more widely.
“A mistake of a larger scale, as yet invisible but still of great importance, is that the United States is becoming more and more personally drawn into this conflict. And let no one say that they have nothing to do with this. We believe they do,” Putin said.
Russian forces ‘unlikely’ to make a breakthrough in northeast Ukraine, British defense ministry says
Russian ground forces on the Kupiansk-Lyman axis in northeast Ukraine are “highly unlikely” to achieve a major operational breakthrough, Britain’s Defense Ministry said, thanks to Ukrainian forces retaining a “significant defensive presence.”
The ministry delivered the update Wednesday via X, formerly known as Twitter.
While there has been “a significant increase in Russian offensive activity” in the area, there has been “limited success,” the update said.
It’s “highly likely” that the activity is part of an ongoing Russian offensive happening across multiple axes in eastern Ukraine, according to the report.
Putin to visit Vietnam ‘soon,’ Vietnamese state media reports
Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted an invitation from his Vietnamese counterpart to soon visit Vietnam as the two met on the sidelines of China’s belt and Road Forum in Beijing, Vietnamese state media reported.
Vietnam remains one of Russia’s closest partners in Asia, ties that were developed during the Soviet era, and Hanoi is a major buyer of Russian weapons.
Vietnam’s President Vo Van Thuong invited Putin to “soon” visit the country and “Putin happily accepted the invitation,” Vietnam News Agency, the state’s official newswire, reported late on Tuesday.
Putin and Xi ‘exchange views’ on Israel-Hamas conflict, state media reports
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had an “in-depth exchange of views” on the Israel-Hamas conflict, Chinese state media outlet Xinhua reported.
The two leaders met during Putin’s closely-watched trip to Beijing for the third Belt and Road Forum. The pair also discussed the “no limits” partnership between their two countries during the meeting.
Xi said that “China supports the Russian people in pursuing the path of national rejuvenation independently and safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests,” Xinhua reports.
The Chinese president said that both sides should promote the high-quality development of China-Russia cooperation and “actively explore cooperation in strategic emerging industries.”
Russian lower house passes law to scrap ban on nuclear testing
A law to revoke Russia’s ratification of the global nuclear test ban treaty completed its passage through the Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, Wednesday.
Deputies passed the second and third readings of the bill with unanimous votes in favor.
“We rarely have great consolidation at all, and in this regard, our vote will be a response to the United States of America for its boorish attitude towards its responsibilities to maintain global security,” Vyacheslav Volodin, the State Duma chairman, said Tuesday.
The US signed but never ratified the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.