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Ukraine's Zelensky holds first war phone call with China's Xi

Zelensky hails phone call to China's Xi

Ukraine's Volodymr Zelensky says he has had a "long and meaningful" phone call with China's Xi Jinping, their first contact since Russia's war began.

He said on Twitter he believed the call, along with the appointment of an ambassador to Beijing, would "give a powerful impetus to the development of our bilateral relations".

China confirmed the call, adding that it "always stood on the side of peace".

Unlike the West, Beijing has sought to appear neutral on the Russian invasion.

But it has never hidden its close ties to Moscow, or condemned the invasion, and last month President Xi paid a two-day state visit to Russia.


Russia’s new T-14 Armata battle tank debuts in Ukraine: Report

Russian T-14 Armata tanks debut in Ukraine

Russia has begun using its new T-14 Armata battle tanks to fire on Ukrainian positions “but they have not yet participated in direct assault operations”, the RIA state news agency reports.

The tanks have been fitted with extra protection on their flanks, and crews have undergone “combat coordination” at training grounds in Ukraine, RIA on Tuesday quoted an unnamed source close to the matter as saying.

The T-14 tank has an unmanned turret, and its crews remotely control the armaments from “an isolated armoured capsule located in the front of the hull”, RIA reported.

The tanks have a maximum speed on the highway of 80 kilometres per hour (50mph), the agency said.

In January, British military intelligence reported Russian forces in Ukraine were reluctant to accept the first tranche of the tanks because of their “poor condition”.


Roger Waters wins legal battle to gig in Frankfurt amid antisemitism row

Roger Waters

Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd frontman, has won his legal battle to perform a concert in Frankfurt after attempts to ban the event amid accusations of antisemitism.

Magistrates acting on behalf of the German city had instructed the venue two months ago to cancel the concert on 28 May, accusing Waters of being “one of the most widely known antisemites in the world”. Waters, who has always denied accusations of antisemitism, took legal action against the decision.

Frankfurt’s administrative court has now declared his right to go ahead with the event. While acknowledging that aspects of his show were “tasteless” and obviously lent on symbolism inspired by the Nazi regime, it cited artistic freedom among its main reasons for the decision.


Ukraine war: Kyiv secures bridgehead across key Dnipro River - reports

Antonivskiiy Bridge

Ukrainian troops have set up positions on the east bank of the Dnipro River in southern Kherson region, reports say.

The region is partially Russian-held and crossing the river could be significant in future offensives.

The US-based Institute for the Study of War says Russian military bloggers have posted "enough geolocated footage and text reports to confirm" the advance.

BBC Ukraine says its military sources have reported a "certain movement across [the] Dnipro" near Kherson city.

Entire Ukrainian city levelled in Russian assault

Aavdiika destroyed

An entire Ukrainian city has reportedly been levelled by Russian attacks, with more than 80 per cent of its housing stock destroyed.

Vitalii Barabash, Head of the Avdiivka City Military Administration, said that the city's infrastructure had been "completely ruined", adding that, "it is impossible to restore or repair, but only to demolish and rebuild".

He told Interfax-Ukraine: "There is not a single house left standing. The city probably hasn't had a single building standing since summer."

In recent weeks, Moscow has switched its focus to Avdiivka in the Donetsk region, hoping to encircle the Ukrainian troops defending it after having so far failed to capture nearby Bakhmut.

It is feared the renewed Russian effort to seize Avdiivka could create a “second Bakhmut”.


Russia ‘will not forget or forgive’ US refusal of journalist visas

Russia will not forget or forgive journalist visas

Russia on Sunday accused the U.S. of denying Russian journalists visas to visit and cover Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s chairmanship of the United Nations Security Council in New York, vowing that Moscow “will not forget and will not forgive” over the matter.

“The country that calls itself the strongest, the smartest, the freest and the most just, has behaved in a cowardly and stupid fashion by showing what its asseverations about protecting freedom of speech and access to information are really worth,” Lavrov said in a translated statement shared by the Foreign Ministry.

“Most importantly, be sure that we will not forget or forgive,” Lavrov said.

The Hill has reached out to the State Department for comment on Russia’s claim of denied visas.

The Russian journalists were hoping to cover Lavrov’s time in New York as Russia assumes the rotating chairmanship of the UN’s Security Council, according to the Foreign Ministry.



Barry Humphries was a master of provocation and glorious grotesquerie

Barry Humphrieshen any well-loved entertainer dies, it’s sad. Now Barry Humphries has died, and maybe it’s more so – because we’re losing not only Humphries, but his alter egos too, characters more fleshed-out and better known to the public than Humphries himself.

Dame Edna was among the most enduring personas comedy has ever seen, and undoubtedly one of the greatest. With her, and Sir Les Patterson, and with his contributions to Britain’s 60s satire boom, Humphries added to the gaiety of cultures (and subtracted from their dignity) across half a century and the span of the globe.

You don’t need to be Sigmund Freud to trace the source of Humphries’s outre comedy back to his repressive upbringing in 1930s Melbourne, and specifically his mother, who divided the world into things that were “nice” and things that were “uncalled for”.


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