To punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, which the West claims has been halted by resolute resistance but is still wreaking havoc on civilians, Japan and Australia announced further sanctions on Friday.
Since Russian troops invaded Ukraine on February 24, Western sources and Ukrainian officials say, the attack has stalled, putting Moscow’s hopes for a quick triumph and the overthrow of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s government in jeopardy.
U.S. officials say there has been no shelling on Ukraine in the last 24 hours, and there have been anecdotal reports that morale in some Russian battalions is faltering.
That is partly due to what the official called “poor leadership,” as well as “a lack of information that the troops are getting about their purpose and aims,” as well as “disillusionment” from facing such a strong resistance.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has shown no signs of backing down, despite defeats on the battlefield and punishing sanctions imposed by the West.
He claims that his government is relying on China to assist Russia weather the economic storm.
Beijing is “considering directly assisting Russia with military assets to use in Ukraine,” according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who last week approved $800 million in new military aid to Kyiv.
After calling Vladimir Putin “a homicidal tyrant,” Joe Biden will tell Xi Jinping that Beijing “will bear responsibility” for any steps it takes to support Russia’s aggressiveness in a phone call on Friday, according to White House press secretary Josh Blinken.
The White House has announced that the two will talk at 9 a.m. Eastern time (1300 GMT) on Tuesday.
Despite Russia’s actions in Ukraine, China has hesitated to label it an invasion. Russia has valid security concerns, but it acknowledges Ukraine’s sovereignty, according to the document.
To discuss counter-terror and security cooperation, China’s foreign ministry said on Friday that a Chinese foreign ministry official met with Russia’s ambassador to China earlier this week.