March 22 (Reuters) – Russian drones attacked Ukrainian cities and missiles blasted an apartment block, but a months-long ground assault on the eastern town of Bakhmut could be stalling in the face of fierce resistance, according to Ukrainian and British military experts.
* At least nine people died in the Russian air strikes which Ukrainian President Zelenskiy said showed Moscow was not interested in peace.
* In a show of defiance, Zelenskiy’s office released a video of him handing out medals to troops it said were near the Bakhmut front line.
* British military intelligence said there was a possibility the Russian assault on Bakhmut was losing steam.
* The Russian-backed administration in Sevastopol suspended ferry routes around the Crimean port, shortly after its governor said air defences repelled a Ukrainian drone attack.
* Reuters could not immediately verify battlefield reports.
* Peace plans and pipelines: What came out of the Putin-Xi talks?
* Putin and Xi discussed a major new infrastructure project, Power-of-Siberia 2, to deliver gas to China via Mongolia. However, Russia is still waiting on a deal and China has powerful leverage to secure advantageous price terms. China is not expected to need additional gas supply until after 2030.
* During his two-day visit, Xi barely mentioned the Ukraine conflict beyond saying China had an “impartial position”.
* U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said China is “very carefully” watching the global response to the invasion but has not yet crossed the line of providing lethal aid to Moscow.
* Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said the West dislikes Russia and China’s independence and in coming decades will try to break Russia up into smaller and weaker states. He said Ukraine was part of “Greater Russia” and saw no prospects for reviving Russia’s ties with the West in the near future.
* Turkish President Erdogan said he will have phone call in two to three days with Putin to discuss the Black Sea grain export deal for Ukraine and Russia, Anadolu news agency reported.
* Rebuilding Ukraine’s economy is expected to cost $411 billion, 2.6 times Ukraine’s expected 2022 gross domestic product, an international study found.
* The spiritual head of the world’s Orthodox Christians said Russia’s powerful Orthodox Church shared responsibility for the conflict in Ukraine.
(Compiled by Reuters editors)
Compiled by Reuters editors
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