Russia's war on Ukraine latest: Putin hosts China's Xi

March 20 (Reuters) - Vladimir Putin hosted his "dear friend" Xi Jinping for dinner in the Kremlin on Monday, showing off his relationship with his most powerful ally just days after an international court called for the Russian president's arrest for war crimes in Ukraine.


* Xi is the first world leader to meet Putin since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for the Russian leader on Friday over the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia since the start of the war.

* Putin told Xi that he viewed China's proposals for a resolution of the Ukraine conflict with respect.

* Ukraine urged China to use its influence to end the war, even though Beijing's proposals were met with scepticism by its Western allies.

* The White House urged Xi to use his visit to tell Putin to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and end the war even as Washington earlier denounced its timing, saying it provided Moscow with "diplomatic cover" to commit further crimes.


* Russia's Investigative Committee said it had opened a counter-case against the ICC prosecutor and judges, arguing there were no grounds for criminal liability on Putin's part and heads of state enjoyed immunity.

* Justice ministers from around the world were gathering in London to discuss scaling up support for the ICC.

* European Union countries agreed to give 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine over the next year by digging into their own stockpiles and teaming up to buy more.

* U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States was authorising further $350 million in military aid for Ukraine.


* Fierce fighting continued in the eastern town of Bakhmut with each side launching counter offensives. Ukrainian forces have held out in Bakhmut since last summer in the longest and bloodiest battle of the year-long war.

* The eastern town of Avdiivka, could soon become a "second Bakhmut", a small city where its forces have held out against Russian invaders for eight months but risk being fully encircled, Ukrainian military said on Monday.

* Russia's Wagner mercenary group plans to recruit some 30,000 new fighters by mid-May. In a letter published on Monday, Wagner's boss warned Russia's defence minister of an imminent "large-scale" Ukrainian offensive.


* EXCLUSIVE-Russians flood Kazakhstan with sanction-busting requests

* INSIGHT-North of Bakhmut, another key battle tests Ukraine's defences

* SPECIAL REPORT-Wagner’s convicts tell of horrors of Ukraine war and loyalty to their leader

* ANALYSIS-Patchwork fixes to Ukraine grain shortfall leave world vulnerable a year into war

Compiled by Reuters editors

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