Europe 1 with AFP 07:18, March 23, 2023

On the 393rd day of the war in Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky sent a message of peace for Ramadan. The Ukrainian president visited the city of Bakhmut on Wednesday, promising a military victory over the Russian enemy. If the issue of Russian-Chinese friendship raises questions, the United States assures that China has not "crossed the line" of the delivery of lethal weapons.


President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Wednesday near Bakhmut, epicenter of the front and symbol of Ukrainian resistance in the east of the country, where he promised a military victory over "terrorist" Russia, a day after a call for peace launched without convincing from Moscow by the Chinese head of state Xi Jinping. The statements of the Ukrainian president, who came to reinforce his troops as close as possible to the fighting near Bakhmut, then in Kharkiv, a large city in the northeast, followed new deadly strikes by the Russian army.

They claimed the lives of at least eight civilians in the Kiev region, and hit an apartment building in Zaporizhzhia, killing at least one person and injuring dozens. "We will answer with certainty (...) to all attacks on our cities," Zelensky said in a video message. "Here in Donbass, in the Kharkiv region, wherever Russian evil has come, it is obvious that this terrorist state cannot be stopped other than by our victory," he added. "Russia will lose this war," the Ukrainian president said.

Earlier, Volodymyr Zelensky had published on Telegram a video of his trip near Bakhmut, a city threatened with encirclement by Russian forces. He is seen in a black sweater in a concrete hangar, with heavily armed soldiers to whom he presents medals. His trip - the second on this front part he had already visited in December - came just hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping left Moscow, following a summit the day before with Vladimir Putin.

Displaying an alliance with the West whose limits he has hardly defined with his Russian counterpart, the Chinese president has put back on the table a plan for the settlement of the conflict, which the Russian side has said it agrees to consider but that the West - the United States in the lead - has suspected of only being able to consolidate Russian territorial gains.

Information to remember:

  • The United States has warned Beijing about the consequences of delivering lethal weapons to Russia.
  • Volodymyr Zelensky was in Bakhmut on Wednesday to support Ukrainian troops.
  • The Ukrainian president called for peace on the first day of Ramadan.

Zelensky's call for peace for Ramadan

Volodymyr Zelensky sent a message to netizens on the occasion of the first day of Ramadan, on Twitter. "May the power of prayer in this holy month of Ramadan help us cleanse Ukraine of Russian atheist evil, of those who really do not believe in anything, and that is why they are capable of such terror. May the next Ramadan begin in peace as well as on all Ukrainian liberated liberated from Russia," Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video released Tuesday night.

May the power of prayer in this holy month of Ramadan help us cleanse Ukraine of Russian godless evil, of those who truly believe in nothing, and that is why they are capable of such terror. Let the next Ramadan begin in peace and on the entire Ukrainian land free from Russia.

— Володимир зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) March 22, 2023

Blinken calls Russian-Chinese rapprochement a 'marriage of convenience'

The Russian-Chinese rapprochement looks like "a marriage of convenience" rather than "conviction", said Wednesday the head of US diplomacy, Antony Blinken, according to which Beijing has not yet delivered lethal weapons to Moscow in the middle of the war in Ukraine. "Partly because they have a very different view of the world than we do, they have entered into a marriage of convenience. I'm not sure it's conviction," the secretary of state told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"Russia is clearly the junior partner in this relationship," he added. Chinese President Xi Jinping has traveled to Russia for a two-day trip focused on strengthening ties with his counterpart Vladimir Putin. "I'm not sure Russia or Putin want world order, rather world disorder," he said.

China has not yet delivered lethal weapons to Russia, says Americans

China has not yet "crossed the line" of delivering lethal weapons to Russia in the midst of the war in Ukraine, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday. "To date, we have not seen them cross that line," the US secretary of state said in response to a question during a hearing before a Senate committee in Washington.

For several weeks, US diplomacy has been exerting intense diplomatic pressure on China to prevent it from delivering important military equipment to Moscow, mired in the conflict in Ukraine. In mid-February, Washington indicated that China was considering such an option, and there were reports of small shipments sent by Chinese companies to Moscow.