Chris Lange, FISM News
French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Beijing today in a visit aimed at persuading China to change its stance on the Ukraine war.
Macron hopes to convince President Xi Jinping not to support Russia’s invasion and seeks to strengthen European trade ties with China during his three-day sojourn, The Guardian reported.
“China is the only country in the world capable of having an immediate and radical impact on the conflict, in one direction or the other,” an official from the French president’s office said of the war in Ukraine.
Paris views China as a potential “game-changer” in the conflict, with the power to alter its outcome.
Reuters reported that prior to Macron’s trip to Beijing, he and President Joe Biden spoke on the phone to discuss efforts to enlist China’s help in facilitating a speedy end to the conflict, according to France’s presidential palace.
“The two leaders have mentioned their joint willingness to engage China to accelerate the end of the war in Ukraine and take part in building sustainable peace in the region,” Macron’s office said in a statement.
The Élysée Palace also said that Macron and Biden want China’s cooperation in advancing global climate and biodiversity agendas.
China’s foreign ministry office said that President Xi Jinping looked forward to holding talks with Macron to advance bilateral relations.
RUSSIA PURSUES FINANCIAL HELP IN PAYING OFF STATE DEBT
Russia is likely expecting financial assistance from “friendly” nations that includes purchases of its sovereign debt.
Britain’s Defense Ministry noted in its April 5 intelligence update that Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin recently confirmed that plans were “under development” to issue some of Russia’s state debt in foreign currencies.
Russian banks have primarily been buying the debt in recent months, but the Ministry said that it is unlikely that they will be able to continue to do so for much longer. The report pointed out that “Such investors would be indirectly financing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
The development appears to signal that the Kremlin expects the conflict with Ukraine to drag on indefinitely. While Russia has endured multiple setbacks in its invasion, Western analysts have been saying for some time that Moscow believes support for Ukraine from its allies will eventually wane, to Russia’s benefit.
ZELENSKYY, FIRST LADY RECEIVE WARM WELCOME IN WARSAW
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and First Lady Olena Zelenska were greeted with military honors in a ceremony at Warsaw’s presidential palace Wednesday. Zelenskyy previously indicated that he would travel to Poland this week as a gesture of gratitude for the country’s critical support for Ukraine throughout the Russian invasion, according to The Associated Press.
In addition to serving as one of the main proponents of providing military assistance to Ukraine, Poland has welcomed millions of Ukrainian refugees. It also serves as a key transport hub for Western-supplied weapons deliveries into the country.
Warsaw has been working to modernize its military in response to Moscow’s invasion, purchasing tanks and other equipment from American and South Korean manufacturers.
Zelenskyy’s visit has also served to underscore Poland’s role in a major paradigm shift taking place in terms of international security since Russia launched its full-scale invasion last year.
SUSPECT IN ST. PETERSBURG CAFE BOMBING JAILED; COVERT RUSSIAN GROUP CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY
Russian authorities said that a woman suspected of involvement in an explosion that killed a pro-war Russian military blogger has been jailed.
Darya Trepova, 26, is accused of carrying out Sunday’s bombing attack at a pro-war rally in the center of St. Petersburg that killed blogger Vladlen Tatarsky, 40, and injured dozens of others. A Moscow court ruled Tuesday that Trepova will remain in custody for two months pending an investigation.
Kremlin officials assert that Trepova handed Tatarsky a bust of himself rigged with explosives moments before the blast.
Russia’s Interior Ministry released a video showing Trepova admitting to authorities that she told a police officer that she brought the bust to the cafe. When asked who gave it to her, she said she would explain later. The confession prompted concerns that it was given under duress.
Meanwhile, Newsweek reported Wednesday that the so-called National Republican Army (NRA) has claimed responsibility for the attack. The clandestine group, whose very existence has been hotly debated, also claimed responsibility for last year’s car bombing that killed Darya Dugina, the daughter of Putin confidante Aleksandr Dugin.
Former Russian official-turned-dissident Ilya Ponomarev, who identified himself as the international spokesman for the NRA, said on the Telegram messaging app that the group’s St. Petersburg branch was responsible for the killing of “the well-known warmonger and war propagandist.”