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Russia-Ukraine War At A Glance: What We Know On Day 418 Of The Invasion

Russian president Vladimir Putin has met Chinese defence minister Li Shangfu in Moscow. Putin said the two countries were “working actively through our military departments” and regularly exchanging “useful information” while Li said ties between the two countries had “already entered a new era” and surpassed “the military-political alliances of the cold war era”.

Ukrainian forces are finding a growing number of components from China in Russian weapons used in Ukraine, a senior adviser in president Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office told Reuters. China has repeatedly denied sending military equipment to Russia.

A row is brewing over Poland and Hungary’s decision to ban grain imports from Ukraine to protect their own agricultural sectors. Reuters reports that a European Commission spokesperson said unilateral action on trade by European Union member states was “not acceptable”.

Following Poland and Hungary’s decision, Bulgaria is considering a similar move. Local news agency BTA reported that the agriculture minister, Yavor Gechev, said the country was mulling over a ban on Ukrainian grain imports.

Ukrainian and Russian armed forces are fighting extraordinarily bloody battles in the ruined eastern city of Bakhmut, but pro-Kyiv forces are still holding on, Ukraine’s military has said. Russia said that Wagner mercenary units supported by airborne troops had captured two more city blocks.

One hundred and thirty Ukrainian prisoners of war have been released and returned home in a “great Easter exchange”, a senior Ukrainian presidential official has said. It was not clear how many Russians were sent back the other way.

A Russian official has claimed four people were killed and 10 injured in Ukrainian shelling of a town in Russian-controlled Donetsk. Denis Pushilin said a seven-year-old girl was among those wounded in Yasynuvata.

Russia has been using drones to attack Ukrainian police in Kherson, according to the region’s police force. It said a police car was attacked in the Korabel area, injuring two officers and damaging the car, while in Beryslav one officer was injured and cars damaged.

A new international economic support package of $115bn (£93bn) is giving Ukraine more confidence it can prevail against Russian forces amid growing recognition the war could continue for longer than expected, the Ukrainian finance minister said on Saturday. Serhiy Marchenko said Group of Seven (G7) finance ministers assured him during International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in Washington this week that they would support Ukraine for as long as needed.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke to the French president, Emmanuel Macron, on Saturday. In two tweets, the Ukrainian president said they had discussed Macron’s recent visit to Beijing to meet China’s president, Xi Jinping.

The Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, will visit Baghdad on Monday, his first trip to Iraq since Russia invaded Ukraine. Kuleba is expected to hold talks with the Iraqi prime minister, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, and the foreign minister, Fuad Hussein.

The Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has called for the establishment of a group of countries that are not involved in the Russia-Ukraine war in order to broker peace. Lula, who has criticised the role of the US and the EU in the conflict, spoke of attempting to gather a group of leaders who “prefer to talk about peace rather than war”, citing China’s Xi Jinping and the president of the United Arab Emirates, sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, both of whom he met this week.

A Russian court is due to deliver a verdict in the case against opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza, who is being tried for treason over criticism of the Ukraine offensive and faces up to 25 years in prison.

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