Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his top battlefield commanders, spoke via video link with top US military and national security officials.
The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, citing his alleged role in unlawfully deporting thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia. The Kremlin, which doesn’t recognize the court’s judgments, termed the move unacceptable. US President Joe Biden called the arrest warrant for Putin “justified.”
Xi Jinping will travel to Russia on Monday, his first trip there since Kremlin forces invaded Ukraine, in a strong show of support for Putin. The pair are expected to discuss Beijing’s 12-point blueprint for ending the war, a document dismissed by most Western governments.
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(All times CET)
US, Ukrainian Officials Discuss Battlefield, Kyiv’s Military Needs
Top US officials including National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, held a video meeting with Ukraine’s president and his chief of staff, defense minister and top military commanders.
The participants, who also included Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces and top ground and air defense commanders, discussed Kyiv military needs, including weapons and ammunition, chief of staff Andriy Yermak on Telegram.
The officials held detailed discussions on the situation on the battlefield, including the most difficult combat operations, and about the urgent needs of Ukrainian army, Yermak said.
Russia Launches Drone Attack Overnight (8 a.m.)
Air-raid sirens sounded widely across Ukraine on Saturday morning.
Russia launched an attack with 16 Iranian-made single-use drones on Friday night from the Bryansk region and the eastern coast of the Sea of Azov, Ukraine’s air defence force said on Saturday. Kyiv’s forces shot down 11 drones in the central, eastern and western regions.
Two drones “significantly” damaged critical infrastructure in Novomoskovsk in the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region, regional head Serhiy Lysak said on Telegram. Three drones hit buildings near Yavoriv in the far western Lviv region. Yavoriv is 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the Polish border and close to Ukraine’s largest military training facility.
Biden Says Putin’s Arrest Warrant From ICC is ‘Justified’ (8 a.m.)
President Joe Biden said Friday the International Criminal Court arrest warrant, accusing Russia’s Vladimir Putin of war crimes, was “justified.”
Neither the US nor Russia has signed onto the ICC’s Rome Statute, so the jurisdiction of the Hague-based court is limited in both countries.
“He clearly committed war crimes,” Biden said outside the White House on Friday night. He called the warrant “justified,” adding that although the US doesn’t recognize the court, “I think it makes a very strong point.”
Russia Likely to Widen Conscription Efforts, UK Says (7 a.m.)
Russia may be “preparing to facilitate wider military conscription to resource its military requirements,” the UK defense ministry said in a Twitter update.
The UK noted that Russia’s Duma introduced a bill to change the age bracket of men eligible for conscription to 21 to 30 years, against the current 18 to 27. If passed, the measure would come into effect in January.
“Many 18 to 21 year old men currently claim exemption from the draft due to being in higher education. The authorities are highly likely changing the age bracket to bolster troop numbers by ensuring that students are eventually forced to serve,” the UK said.
ADM Restarts Ukraine Oilseed Crushing Plant (11 p.m.)
US commodities firm Archer-Daniels-Midland has reopened its oilseed crushing plant in southern Ukraine, in another sign that crop trading companies are feeling more optimistic about the outlook for shipments out of the country.
The Chornomorsk plant has recently resumed operations, a spokeswoman for ADM said Friday. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forced the company to suspend its operations last year.
Read more: ADM Restarts Oilseed Crushing Plant in Ukraine After a Year
Kremlin Calls ICC Warrant for Putin Unacceptable (6:10 p.m.)
The Kremlin in a statement termed the International Criminal Court arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin unacceptable and void. Russia, like the US, isn’t a signatory to the Hague-based court’s statutes.
Chief Ukrainian Prosecutor Hails ‘Historic’ Warrant (5:19 p.m.)
The ICC arrest warrant for Putin sends a global signal that Russia’s current regime is criminal and its leaders will be brought to justice, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said on his office’s website.
“World leaders will think thrice whether to shake his hand or sit with him at the negotiations table,” Kostin said of Putin.
The prosecutor general’s office has registered forced deportations of more than 16,000 children from Ukraine by Russia, saying the actual number may be higher. Ukraine has managed to bring back just 308 kids so far.
ICC Issues Arrest Warrant for Russia’s Putin (4:20 p.m.)
The International Criminal Court on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Russia’s president and for Maria Lvova-Belova, Putin’s presidential commissioner for children’s rights, in both cases for their roles in an alleged scheme to forcibly deport thousands of Ukrainian kids.
The efforts were termed a “war crime” by the Hague-based court, whose jurisdiction isn’t recognized by Russia, China or the US, among others. Lvova-Belova has been sanctioned by the US, EU, the UK and Canada for her alleged role in illegal deportations.
Officials in Kyiv celebrated the move, with foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba saying on Twitter that the “wheels of justice are turning.”
NATO Edges Closer to Expansion as Turkey Backs Finland’s Bid (3:35 p.m.)
Turkey will ratify Finland’s accession into NATO, bringing the military alliance a step closer to welcoming its 31st member as the ripples from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine spread across the European security landscape.
Turkey has decided to start the process in parliament, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a news conference Friday together with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto in Ankara.
Crop-Export Deal Renewal Still Unresolved (2:30 p.m.)
The extension of the deal that’s bolstered Ukraine’s crop exports is still clouded by uncertainty as talks continue before the existing term ends on Saturday.
The agreement — brokered in July by Turkey and the UN — has been vital to shoring up global grain supplies after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent shock-waves through agriculture markets. Shipments continue for now, with vessels still heading into and out of Ukrainian Black Sea ports and new deals being inked as well.
Russia this week proposed extending the initiative for 60 days — half the duration of its prior two terms — but Kyiv has pushed back, saying that it contradicted the terms of the overarching agreement.
China’s Xi to Visit Russia Next Week (1 p.m.)
Xi Jinping is making his first state visit to Russia since it invaded Ukraine over a year ago in a show of support for President Vladimir Putin.
The Chinese leader will be in Russia from Monday to Wednesday, according to a statement from China’s Foreign Ministry. Xi, who secured a third term as president a week ago, will be the most prominent international leader to visit Putin since the Kremlin’s war on its neighbor started in February 2022.
Xi is expected to discuss China’s 12-point blueprint for ending the war, a document dismissed by most Western governments. Criticism of the plan was more muted from Kyiv, which has sought talks at a leader level with China since the war broke out while also urging Beijing to take a more critical stance against Russia.
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