Beijing’s “top priority” is to push for a ceasefire and end the war in Ukraine, Chinese leader Xi Jinping told European Union Commission Chief Ursula Von der Leyen and French President Emmanuel Macron during their meeting Thursday, according to the Chinese readout.
Meanwhile, battles continue in parts of eastern Ukraine, the country’s military said Thursday, with Ukrainian troops focused on the battered city of Bakhmut to try to exhaust the Russians.
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Russian prosecutors seek maximum prison term for Kremlin critic: Prosecutors have asked a Moscow court to sentence Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza to 25 years in prison for criminal offenses that include treason, spreading “fakes” about the Russian army, and facilitating activities of an undesirable organization, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported on Thursday.
No concessions on Crimea, Ukrainian officials say: Senior Ukrainian officials insisted that Kyiv will make zero territorial concessions in its fight against Russia, following remarks from a deputy in the Ukrainian president’s office about the future of Crimea. In comments first reported Wednesday by the Financial Times, Andriy Sybiha said if a Ukrainian counteroffensive pushed Russian forces back to the administrative border with Crimea, “we are ready to open (a) diplomatic page to discuss this issue.”
Russian court to hear US reporter’s arrest appeal: A Moscow court on April 18 will hear an appeal filed by lawyers of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich against his arrest, Russian state media said citing the court. Gershkovich is being held in a pre-trial detention center at the notorious Lefortovo prison until May 29. He faces up to 20 years in prison on espionage charges.