Chris Lange, FISM News
Chinese President Xi Jinping will travel to Moscow on Monday, where he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, both countries announced on Friday. Xi’s two-day visit comes amid accelerating East-West tensions over the war in Ukraine.
Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a briefing on Friday that Xi “will have an in-depth exchange of views with President Putin on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues of common concern,” per The Associated Press.
Wengbin added that “the world is entering a new period of turbulences and reform” and that the “impact of the China-Russia relations go far beyond the bilateral sphere.”
POLAND FIRST NATO ALLY TO OFFER UKRAINE FIGHTER JETS
Poland has become the first NATO country to offer Ukraine the fighter jets it has been pleading for since Russia invaded. Warsaw announced Thursday that it would give Kyiv approximately twelve MiG-29 fighter jets.
Four of the Soviet-built warplanes will be delivered by Warsaw “within the next few days,” according to President Andrzej Duda. The remaining aircraft required maintenance but would be provided later. Duda used a Polish word that can mean between 11 and 19 when describing the total number of warplanes included in the package.
Piotr Mueller, a spokesman for the Polish government, said on Wednesday that other nations had also pledged MiGs to Kyiv but did not name them. Poland and Slovakia both said previously that they were prepared to turn over their retired MiG aircraft, but only as part of a larger international coalition that was also willing to do so.
RUSSIAN SECURITY SERVICE BUILDING CATCHES FIRE FOLLOWING REPORTS OF EXPLOSION
A building used by Russia’s Federal Security Service caught fire in the southern Russian city of Rostov, located roughly 43 miles from the border with Ukraine, multiple outlets reported on Thursday.
ABC News said that local emergency services and state-run Russian media reported one fatality and two injuries resulting from the fire. The building belonged to Russia’s Federal Security Service’s (FSB) regional border patrol division.
Amateur video footage posted on social media footage showed the building ablaze, with plumes of heavy smoke rising over the city.
The U.K.’s Express media outlet reported that nearby residents said they heard “powerful explosions” moments before the fire broke out.
Vasily Golubev, the regional governor of Rostov, claimed that the blaze was ignited by an electrical short circuit, which “caused containers of fuel and lubricants to explode.” However, local media cited unnamed law enforcement sources as saying that the fire resulted from an explosion of ammunition stored in a warehouse.
‘HIGHEST LEVEL’ KREMLIN OFFICIALS REPORTEDLY SANCTIONED ATTACK ON US DRONE
The aggressive actions of two Russian fighter jets that felled a U.S. military drone over the Black Sea this week were approved at the highest levels of the Kremlin, NBC News reported, citing three U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence.
Two of the officials said that the unprecedented action by the Russian warplanes to drop jet fuel on the MQ-9 Reaper appears to have been done to deactivate the drone’s surveillance capabilities or throw it off course. The three stopped short of saying the directive came from Putin himself, though one of the officials asserted there was no evidence to indicate that the Russian leader was directly involved in the incident.
John Kirby told reporters Wednesday that video of the incident released by the Pentagon proved that Russia lied when it denied that one of the warplanes struck the drone’s propeller, rendering it inoperable.
“It’s pretty darn obvious when you look at that video that [the] fighter jet hit our drone,” he said.
UKRAINE’S FORCES HOLD OUT IN BAKHMUT
Ukrainian defenders continued to withstand Russian assaults in the eastern city of Bakhmut Thursday. Reuters reporters on the ground said that they heard constant artillery and small arms fire roughly a mile from the front line.
The Russian-installed head of Ukraine’s Donetsk region said that situation for Russian forces attempting to capture the Bakhmut is “difficult” because there are no indications that Kyiv is prepared to order a withdrawal of its troops.