Breaking news about Russia and the war in Ukraine

Sanctions against Russia should continue until we see a de-escalation, says Italian Di Maio

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio told CNBC’s Squawk Box Europe that sanctions against Russia will continue until Italy sees a military de-escalation in Ukraine.

Japan is skeptical of Russia’s promise to halt military operations

Japan has expressed skepticism about Russia’s pledge to scale back its military operations in and around the Ukrainian capital.

“We are aware that both sides made certain concessions during the ceasefire negotiations between Russia and Ukraine on March 29, with the Russian side declaring its intention to drastically reduce military operations in and around the capital Kyiv,” Japan’s chef said Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday.

He indicated that US President Joe Biden and other US administration officials were awaiting Russia’s stated intentions, with some saying this was merely a repositioning of Moscow’s troops and not an actual withdrawal.

“Japan shares the belief that it is important to reach a concrete ceasefire as soon as possible and we will continue to monitor the situation with great interest while providing various types of support to Ukraine, which we have already announced in a timely and consistent manner.” , Matsuno said, “To stop Russia’s aggression immediately and ensure the withdrawal of its troops, it is important that the international community works together and continues to take strong action against Russia.”

– Chloe Taylor

EU to pressure China over stance on Russia-Ukraine war

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen makes a statement in Brussels.

Kenzo Tribouillard | AFP | Getty Images

The European Union wants to put pressure on China to remain neutral on its stance on Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine, sources with knowledge of the matter told CNBC ahead of a virtual meeting between Brussels and Beijing on Friday.

There is concern among Western officials about the role China could play in the war between Russia and Ukraine. Chinese authorities have so far refused to fully denounce Russia’s unprovoked invasion of its neighbor – after abstaining in a vote on a UN Security Council resolution condemning Moscow.

China has also backed Moscow’s grievances about NATO expansion, and US officials have also said that Russia has asked China for military and economic support – something both the Kremlin and Beijing have denied.

European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will speak with China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang at 10 a.m. Brussels time on Friday, and then at 2 p.m. with Chinese President Xi Jinping

The goal of the summit is to “sort of ensure China’s neutrality so that they don’t help Russia,” an EU official, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the discussions, told CNBC on Tuesday.

Read the whole story here.

Silvia Amaro

Ukrainian official says Russia will target Kyiv ‘until end of conflict’

A Ukrainian military member walks on the front line near Kyiv as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, Ukraine March 29, 2022.

Gleb Garanich | Reuters

Oleksiy Arestovtch, an adviser to the Office of the President of Ukraine, said Wednesday morning that ongoing talks between Russia and Ukraine were not helping to slow the war.

“The negotiations will in no way slow down the war and will not end it,” he told Telegram in the early hours of Wednesday. “This is a separate line that prepares a future peace deal because every war, even a hundred-year war, ends in a peace deal.”

However, he noted that “serious successes” had been achieved in Tuesday’s talks in Istanbul.

“Ukraine has improved its pre-war position in all areas of advice,” Arestovtch said. “Eventually the negotiating and military lines will converge and that will definitely be a victory for Ukraine.”

However, he expressed skepticism about Russia’s pledge to scale back its military activities near Kyiv and the city of Chernihiv.

“Russian troops will attack the cities until the end of the conflict,” he said. “Including Kyiv.”

– Chloe Taylor

Russian attacks in Ukraine continue

Ukraine’s armed forces said in an update Wednesday morning that more than 1,000 Russian troops had been moved out of occupied Georgia to bolster Russia’s military presence in Ukraine.

“The enemy continues to carry out full-scale armed aggression against our state,” officials said in the update, adding that Russian troops “continue to loot the homes and apartments of local residents, detain pro-Ukrainian activists and government officials in Ukraine.”

CNBC has not been able to independently verify these reports.

A Russian government spokesman could not be reached for comment when asked by CNBC.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials said Wednesday morning via Telegram that yesterday there were shelling attacks in the Brovary district of Kiev, which led to a fire. It was not announced whether there were injuries.

Officials also said Russian troops fired on residential areas in the Luhansk region early this morning. Authorities said there were “casualties” in the attack and clarified information about the victims of the attack.

“Rescuers are trying to save the living,” Luhansk Governor Serhii Haidai said.

– Chloe Taylor

Russian military is suffering “heavy casualties” but likely to continue attacks, UK says

Russian military vehicles patrol March 27, 2022 in the town of Volnovakha, one of the cities hardest hit by the Russia-Ukraine war that began on February 24 in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Sefa Karakan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russian units are suffering “heavy casualties” and have had to return to Belarus and Russia to reorganize and resupply, according to the UK MoD.

“Such activities put further pressure on Russia’s already strained logistics and demonstrate the difficulties Russia is having in reorganizing its units in front areas of Ukraine,” he said. showed the ministry’s latest intelligence report.

However, Russia is likely to continue conducting mass artillery and missile attacks to compensate for its “reduced ground maneuverability,” a Twitter post said. The US earlier warned that Russia’s pledge to withdraw troops from Kyiv was “not a real withdrawal”.

“Russia’s stated focus on an offensive in Donetsk and Luhansk is likely a tacit admission that it is struggling to maintain more than one major axis of advance,” the UK MoD added.

— Goh Chiew Tong

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

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