Ukraine war live updates: Moscow unrepentant after suspending nuclear arms treaty with U.S.; Putin courts Beijing ahead of Xi trip.


The war in Ukraine continues to dominate global geopolitics this week, with the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion fast approaching.

Officials in Moscow appeared unrepentant about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement on Tuesday that Russia was suspending its participation in the New Start nuclear arms control treaty with the U.S., a pact that limits the two sides’ strategic nuclear arsenals.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken later dubbed the decision “deeply unfortunate and irresponsible.”

President Putin looked to deepen ties with China on Wednesday as he welcomed one of Beijing’s top diplomats to Moscow. Russia’s courting of China comes ahead of an expected visit by President Xi Jinping to Russia this spring.

How the war in Ukraine ends will largely depend on the decisions made by Ukraine’s allies with regards to Kyiv’s ongoing weaponry needs such as long-range missiles and jets, Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda told CNBC.

“Our decision making is a very important part of the success of Ukrainian military troops on the battefield,” Nauseda said, adding that recent decisions regarding weaponry for Ukraine, such as battle tanks, had been accelerated and had already crossed Russia’s self-professed “red lines” when it comes to the West’s assistance for Ukraine.

“Is it enough? I wouldn’t say it’s enough … our friends the Ukrainians say they more. They need long-range missiles, they need fighter jets and soon we will decide [whether] to provide them with these kinds of equipment,” he said.

Nauseda told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick in Warsaw that he saw no immediate prospects for an end to the war, nor for a diplomatic path to end the conflict, at this point.

“Both sides, both camps are just too far away from each other to find some [common] subject for peace discussions,” he said.

“This is the reason why I don’t believe in [the possibility of] peaceful discussions and negotiations now, but it doesn’t mean that tomorrow it won’t be possible,” he added.

Russia notified the U.S. it was going to test an intercontinental ballistic missile before President Joe Biden’s trip to Ukraine earlier this week, according to an administration official and a U.S. official.

An administration official told NBC News that the test — which is thought to have failed — occurred before the president arrived in Ukraine and was not timed to coincide with his trip. These officials would not comment on the exact timing of the test.

The administration official said such tests are routine and the Russians used the notification process in the New Start Treaty, a nuclear arms control treaty between Russia and the U.S., to let the U.S. know. Russia announced Tuesday that it was suspending its participation in the pact.

This official also said the test did not pose a risk to the United States and that the Biden administration did not view the test as an anomaly or an escalation.

CNN was first to report the test occurred around the time of the president’s visit.  

The Kremlin said Wednesday that the West’s initial reaction to Russia’s suspension of the New Start nuclear arms treaty, which it announced yesterday, did not bode well for a resumption of talks to re-open the pact.

We see the first reaction. It is quite consolidated among the representatives of the collective West. This reaction, of course, does not give us any reason to hope for any readiness for dialogue or negotiations,” Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s press secretary, told reporters Wednesday, according to an NBC translation.

Peskov said, however, that “circumstances are changing, and here it is very important for Russia to do everything to ensure its own security, including in matters of strategic stability and arms control. And to maintain a patient approach while waiting for our opponents to mature for a normal dialogue.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday that Russia was suspending its participation in the last remaining nuclear arms control pact with the U.S. and threatened to resume nuclear tests as Putin accused the west of turning the war in Ukraine into a global conflict.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken later dubbed the decision “deeply unfortunate and irresponsible.”

Asked under what conditions Russia would be ready to return to the implementation of the treaty, Peskov said “everything will depend on the position of the West. President Putin has clearly outlined what concerns us.”

“We see NATO’s involvement in the conflict, we see, as the President said, that NATO is trying to turn this local conflict into a global one. And on the other hand, NATO maintains its openly hostile position towards Russia. Not only in words, but also in deeds, encroaching on our security. We can’t not react to this,” he said adding that “as soon as there is a willingness to take into account our concerns, then the situation will change.”

Putin looks to deepen ties with China as he meets top diplomat

Russian President Vladimir Putin looked to deepen ties with China Wednesday as he met one of Beijing’s top diplomats in Moscow.

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi visited the Russian capital and held talks with his Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as well as Putin himself, signaling the value the Kremlin has placed on Moscow’s relationship with Beijing, one of the few powerful allies Russia has left in the global community following its invasion of Ukraine a year ago.

CNBC