Russia-Ukraine war live: Biden backs Putin arrest warrant, saying Russian leader ‘clearly committed war crimes’

US president says international criminal court’s warrant ‘makes a very strong point’ while Moscow rejects move as ‘meaningless’

  • Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 388 of the invasion

Joe Biden has said Vladimir Putin clearly committed war crimes and that the international criminal court’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for the Russian leader is justified.

“Well, I think it’s justified,” the US president said on Friday of the warrant.

But the question is – it’s not recognised internationally by us either. But I think it makes a very strong point.

Russia is sustaining up to 1,500 casualties a day in its current offensive, mostly in the eastern city of Bakhmut, according to a senior Nato official. Ukraine was taking “an order of magnitude less” in fighting where “several thousand” shells a day have been fired by both sides, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

China’s President Xi Jinping is to visit Russia next week in an apparent show of support for Vladimir Putin. During the visit, scheduled for 20-22 March, the two leaders would sign “important” bilateral documents and discuss issues of further development of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction between Moscow and Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry has said.

The US has deep concerns that China could try to position itself as a peacemaker in the war in Ukraine by promoting a ceasefire, the White House has said. A ceasefire in Ukraine would “in effect recognise Russia’s gains and its attempt to conquer its neighbour’s territory by force, allowing Russian troops to continue to occupy sovereign Ukrainian territory”, said the White House national security spokesperson, John Kirby.

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey would start the process of ratifying Finland’s Nato membership bid in parliament after Helsinki took “authentic and concrete steps” to keep its promises in a trilateral agreement. Erdoğan also said Turkey’s willingness to consider ratifying Sweden’s Nato bid would “depend on the solid steps Sweden will take”.

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