Thousands of people have taken part in a demonstration in central Berlin to protest against giving more weapons to Ukraine, urging the German government to instead pave the way for negotiations with Vladimir Putin. In London, Marina Litvinenko – the widow of a defector poisoned in London – led calls for a Ukrainian victory in the war at a demonstration of several hundred outside the Russian embassy.
A meeting of finance chiefs of the Group of 20 leading economies has ended without a consensus, with Russia and China objecting to the description of the war in Ukraine in a final document. In a statement at the end of the meeting in Bengaluru, the G20 chair, India, said a statement demanding Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine was endorsed by all members except Moscow and Beijing.
The French president has said China’s engagement in peace in Ukraine is a “good thing”. Emmanuel Macron told reporters he would visit China in early April, in part to seek Beijing’s help with ending the war. “China must help us put pressure on Russia so that it never uses chemical or nuclear weapons,” he said.
The US has intelligence that the Chinese government is considering providing Russia with drones and ammunition for use in the war in Ukraine, according to US officials. They said it did not appear Beijing had made a final decision yet, CNN reported, but Russia-China negotiations about the price and scope of the equipment were ongoing.
Poland’s largest oil company, PKN Orlen, has stopped receiving oil via the Druzhba pipeline from Russia, its CEO, Daniel Obajtek, has said. Orlen said it could fully supply its refineries via sea and that consumers would not be affected by the halt. Russian oil accounts for about 10% of Polish supply.
Explosions have reportedly been heard in the Russian-occupied city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine, according to Petro Andriushchenko, an adviser to the city’s exiled mayor. The explosions were reported in the location of a large Russian military personnel cluster, he said, adding: “It’s a good trend.” Ukraine’s armed forces have in recent days claimed strikes on Mariupol, previously thought to be outside the effective range of Ukrainian missiles.
Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has dismissed as “unrealistic” China’s proposal to end the conflict. Podolyak posted on Twitter that Beijing should not “bet on an aggressor who broke [international] law and will lose the war”. President Zelenskiy has cautiously welcomed China’s 12-point proposal to end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but said it would be acceptable only if it led to Vladimir Putin pulling his troops out from all occupied Ukrainian territory.
Russia appears to have run out of its current stock of Iranian-made drones and will seek to resupply, the UK Ministry of Defence’s latest update says. Russia most likely saw the drones as “useful decoys which can divert Ukrainian air defences from more effective Russian cruise missiles”, it said.
The European Union has agreed to impose a 10th package of sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, just in time for a self-imposed deadline to mark the first anniversary of the war. The latest round of sanctions tackled the banking sector, advanced technologies and Russia’s access to technology that could be used for civilian and military purposes, said the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell.
Joe Biden has ruled out “for now” sending American advanced fighter jets to Ukraine, saying Ukraine ’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy “doesn’t need F-16s now”. The US president told the American Broadcasting Company “there is no basis upon which there is a rationale, according to our military now, to provide F-16s” to Ukraine.
The Belarus president, Alexander Lukashenko, said he and Vladimir Putin spoke for a long time on Friday. Lukashenko’s remarks to reporters came as China’s foreign ministry confirmed he is expected to visit China on Tuesday.
A former commander of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group has been arrested after allegedly attacking a police officer in Oslo, according to Norwegian prosecutors. Andrey Medvedev, who has been living in Norway in January since he fled from Russia, was allegedly detained in the early hours of Wednesday after a fight outside a bar in the Norwegian capital.
Thousands of tickets for the Eurovision song contest are to be allocated to Ukrainians who have been forced from their homes and are living in the UK. The UK government also announced £10m in funding to “help ensure the event truly howcases Ukrainian culture”.