Live: Fighter jets sent to Ukraine will be destroyed, says Russia
- The Kremlin warns that fighter jets sent to Ukraine by Kyiv’s Western allies are “subject to destruction”.
- Slovakia has approved sending MiG-29s to Ukraine, a day after Poland announced it was sending four of the fighter jets to Kyiv.
Fighter jets will be ‘subject to destruction’, says the Kremlin
Russia said that all fighter jets supplied to Ukraine would be destroyed after NATO members Poland and Slovakia pledged to send MiG-29 jets to Kyiv.
“In the course of the special military operation, all this equipment will be subject to destruction,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“It feels like all of these countries are thus engaged in the disposal of old unnecessary equipment,” he said.
Moscow has previously accused the West of directly participating in the conflict by supplying weapons and has warned that NATO weapons were legitimate targets for its forces.
China’s visit is about brokering ‘peace’: AJ Correspondent
Al Jazeera’s Katrina Yu, reporting from Beijing, said Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow next week is all about “promoting peace between Ukraine and Russia”.
“China’s foreign ministry says that Beijing’s stance during the conflict has been consistent, that all it wants is the two sides to sit down and talk. It released a peace plan to this effect last month outlining this push for dialogue, this push for negotiations,” Yu said.
Yu explained that the visit serves two “goals” for Beijing, one of which will show public support for Russia and of deepening its economic ties with Russia.
“Beijing is [also] going there to promote itself as a global leader and a mediator,” Yu said.
“Xi Jinping is capitalising on the recent success Wang Yi, Beijing’s top diplomat brokering a peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran and Xi’s very much going to point out to the international community that speaking to both Russia and Ukraine is something that Beijing can do and the US can not,” she added.
Russian defence ministry awards pilots involved in drone incident
Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu has presented awards to the pilots of two Su-27 fighter planes that intercepted a US drone, the defence ministry said.
On Tuesday, the drone crashed into the Black Sea after being intercepted by Russian jets in the first known direct military encounter between Russia and the United States since Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago.
Announcing the awards, the ministry repeated Russia’s version of events, which is disputed by Washington, that the Russian planes did not make physical contact with the drone.
Ukraine is ‘illegally attacking’ the Church: Kremlin
The Kremlin said that Ukraine was “illegally attacking” the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) – which until recently accepted the authority of the patriarch of Moscow, adding that this confirmed the need for its “special military operation”.
Ukrainian officials last week ordered the UOC to leave the monastery complex in Kyiv, where it is based, drawing fierce condemnation from Moscow.
Pope Francis also called for the “respect” of religious sites.
Slovakia approves sending MiG-29 jets to Ukraine
Prime Minister Eduard Heger said that the Slovak government approved sending MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine.
Slovakia is the second country to send warplanes to Kyiv after Poland, which announced on Thursday it would do so.
Despite its fleet of 11 MiG-29 planes being retired last summer, Slovakia will send operational ones, and the rest will go for spare parts.
Slovakia will also supply part of its KUB air defence system, Heger said.
Finland, Turkey to discuss NATO bid in Istanbul
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto is scheduled to meet his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul amid expectations that Turkey will approve Finland’s NATO bid.
Erdogan signalled earlier this week that he could send his approval to the Turkish parliament to be ratified, meaning a vote could take place before elections on May 14.
If Turkey approves Finland’s bid, it would mean that the path would be practically clear for Finland to become a NATO member before Sweden.So far, 28 of the 30 NATO members have ratified their accession protocols, and only Hungary and Turkey remain.
China’s Xi to visit Moscow next week
Chinese President Xi Jinping will travel to Russia next week to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin, the two countries said.
The Kremlin said in a statement that Xi and Putin would discuss “topical issues of further development of comprehensive partnership relations and strategic cooperation between Russia and China” next Monday and Tuesday.
While the statement made no mention of Ukraine, Xi will hold a telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy following his Russia visit, according to some media reports.
Xi’s trip comes after China published a 12-point plan for “a political resolution of the Ukraine crisis” and after a senior Chinese diplomat called on Thursday for negotiations in a call with Ukraine’s foreign minister.