China downplays top Russian scientist's charge that Beijing puts science cooperation on hold' post-Ukraine crisis
China downplayed the report that its scientists have withheld cooperation with their Russian counterparts after the Ukraine crisis, saying the bilateral collaboration in science and technology has been gaining momentum and has immense potential. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the China-Russia Year of Scientific and Technological Innovation was successfully held from 2020 to 2021, during which over 1,000 innovative cooperation and exchange activities were held, delivering fruitful results. This has opened new ground for future cooperation and testified to the immense potential and broad prospects of bilateral scientific and technological cooperation, he said. Zhao's remarks came in response to a claim made by Alexander Sergeev, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS).
Here's a recap of the day's events
US believes Russian warship still dealing with fire
The United States believes the Russian warship Moskva is still dealing with a fire and the ship is believed to have experienced significant damage, a senior U.S. defense official said on Thursday. The warship, a Soviet-era missile cruiser, is still believed to be afloat and the United States is under the assumption that the cruiser is heading to Sevastopol, the official said. "Our assessment is that she still appears to be battling a fire on board," the official said.
UK sanctions Chelsea Football Club director Tenenbaum
The British government said on Thursday it had sanctioned Chelsea Football Club director Eugene Tenenbaum in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Tenenbaum will be subject to an asset freeze as well as transport sanctions meaning that any ship or aircraft owned, chartered, controlled or operated by him could be detained if it enters Britain. Britain also sanctioned David Davidovich, an associate of Chelsea owner Roman Ambramovich, saying he would be subject to an asset freeze and travel ban as well as transport sanctions. For both men it gave the reason for being sanctioned as their close association with Abramovich, who has already been sanctioned by Britain.
Russia to tow crippled warship back to port after what Ukraine says was a missile hit
Russia said the crew of its Black Sea fleet flagship were evacuated on Thursday and measures were being taken to tow the stricken ship back to port, after an explosion of ammunition on board that Ukraine said was caused by a missile strike. Russia's defence ministry said the fire on the Soviet-era missile cruiser Moskva had been contained, but left the ship badly damaged. It did not acknowledge the ship, which had more than 500 sailors on board, had been attacked and said the cause of the fire was under investigation. Ukraine's southern military command said that it hit the warship with a Ukrainian-made Neptune anti-ship missile and that it had started to sink.
China rejects ''pressure or coercion'' over Russia relations
China on Thursday said it would reject any pressure or coercion over its relationship with Russia, in response to a call from U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for Beijing to use its special relationship with Russia to persuade Moscow to end the war in Ukraine. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian defended China's position on the war, saying it had made considerable efforts to de-escalate the situation, defuse the crisis and rebuild peace." China is playing a constructive role in the Ukraine issue," Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing. China has refused to condemn the invasion of Ukraine by strategic partner Russia, or even refer to the conflict as a war in deference to Moscow, which uses the term special military operation." We oppose unfounded accusations and suspicions against China, nor will we accept any pressure or coercion," Zhao said. Time will tell that China's claims are on the right side of history."
Russia warns of nuclear deployment if Sweden and Finland join NATO
One of Russian President Vladimir Putin's closest allies warned NATO on Thursday that if Sweden and Finland joined the US-led military alliance then Russia would have to bolster its defences in the region, including by deploying nuclear weapons. Finland, which shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border with Russia, and Sweden are considering joining the NATO alliance. Finland will make a decision in the next few weeks, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Wednesday. Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, said that should Sweden and Finland join NATO then Russia would have to strengthen its land, naval and air forces in the Baltic Sea. Medvedev also explicitly raised the nuclear threat by saying that there could be no more talk of a "nuclear free" Baltic - where Russia has its Kaliningrad exclave sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania.
Russia says fire on the Moskva missile cruiser is contained
Russia's defence ministry said on Thursday that sailors had contained a fire on board the Moskva missile cruiser, the flagship of Russia's Black Sea fleet, and that measures were being taken to tow it back to port. The ministry, which said the blaze broke out after ammunition blew up on board, said the cruiser's main weaponry had not been damaged and that its crew had been evacuated onto other ships in the Black Sea. "The source of the blaze on the Moskva cruiser has been contained," the ministry said in a statement, adding that the vessel remained afloat. "The explosions of ammunition have stopped." It said it was still trying to establish the cause of the incident.
Ukraine says missiles struck Russian flagship crippled by blast
The flagship of Russia's Black Sea fleet was seriously damaged and its crew evacuated on Thursday, following an explosion on board that Ukraine said was caused by a missile strike. The loss of the Soviet-era missile cruiser Moskva would be a blow for Russia - on the 50th day of its war in Ukraine - as it readies for a new assault in the eastern Donbas region that is likely to define the outcome of the conflict.
Neighbours back Ukraine, demand accountability for war crimes
The presidents of four countries on Russia's doorstep toured war-ravaged areas near the Ukrainian capital and demanded accountability for what they called war crimes, as Kyiv and Moscow gave conflicting accounts of what happened to a badly damaged missile cruiser that is the flagship vessel of Russia's fleet in the Black Sea. Wednesday's visit by the leaders of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia was a strong show of solidarity from the countries on NATO's eastern flank, three of them like Ukraine once part of the Soviet Union. They travelled by train to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, to meet with their counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and visited Borodyanka, one of the nearby towns where evidence of atrocities was found after Russian troops withdrew to focus on the country's east.
US should help India address its defence needs says Republican Senator
The US should help India address its defence needs so as to reduce its dependence on Russia, an influential Indian-American community leader has quoted a top Republican Senator as saying. According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, since 2010, Russia has been the source of nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of all Indian arms imports and India has been the largest Russian arms importer, accounting for nearly one-third (32 per cent) of all Russian arms exports.
Russia, contesting elections to 4 UN committees, loses all
Russia, contesting elections to four UN committees, lost all of them, including one to Ukraine, a verdict being seen as Moscow's isolation on the global stage. Elections were held in the United Nations Economic and Social Council on Wednesday to fill various vacancies in subsidiary and related bodies. Russia was contesting elections to the Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations, UN Women Executive Board, UNICEF Executive Board and Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.