© Reuters. Ukrainian servicemen return from heavy fighting amid Russia?s attack on Ukraine, close to Bakhmut, Ukraine, April 15, 2023. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
(Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin met Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu in Moscow on Sunday and both men hailed military cooperation between the two nations, which have declared a “no limits” partnership.
* Unilateral action on trade by European Union member states is unacceptable, a European Commission spokesperson said on Sunday, after Poland and Hungary announced bans on grain and other food imports from Ukraine to protect the local agricultural sector.
* Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Sunday again proposed establishing a group of countries not involved with the Russia-Ukraine war to broker peace, saying he had discussed the matter with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping earlier this week.
* Russia’s most powerful mercenary group, Wagner, sent at least 100 Ukrainian prisoners of war back to Ukraine to mark Orthodox Easter, according to a video posted by the group’s founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, on Sunday.
* Ukrainian and Russian armed forces are fighting extraordinarily bloody battles in the smashed eastern city of Bakhmut, but pro-Kyiv forces are still holding on, Ukraine’s military said on Saturday.
* Russia’s defence ministry said on Sunday that Wagner mercenary units captured two more city blocks in the northwest and southeastern parts of Bakhmut.
* Russia’s regular spring military draft is proceeding as scheduled and there are no plans to send out mass electronic notices under a system just signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, a top official said on Saturday.
Reuters could not independently confirm the battlefield reports.
* A new international economic support package of $115 billion gives Ukraine more confidence that it can prevail in battling Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko told Reuters on Saturday.
* Ikea lookalike Belarusian furniture company Swed House opened its first store in Moscow on Saturday to mixed reactions from consumers.
* Ukrainian pianist Roman Lopatynskyi rehearsed in the dark and played concerts by candlelight as air raid sirens resounded across his native Kyiv.
* Ukraine’s national ice hockey players have been forced to train with air raid sirens interrupting practice, sending them underground for cover as they worry about their loved ones, but they have managed to keep their focus.
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