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China is seeking closer ties with Russia, even as the U.S. and other NATO nations have called on China to apply more pressure to Moscow amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
China and Russia are "more determined" to tighten their relationship, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
"Both sides are more determined to develop bilateral ties, and are more confident in promoting cooperation in various fields," Wang said.
"China is willing to work with Russia to take China-Russian ties to a higher level in a new era under the guidance of the consensus reached by the heads of state," he added.
Both sides have also condemned what they called illegal counter- productive sanctions against Russia, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
Retired Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis predicted a "general uprising" against Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday on "Your World with Neil Cavuto."
LT. COL. MAGINNIS: He's been obsessing, Neil, for the last six years about doing precisely what he's doing now. … He said, "Look, I want" - and he's made this very public - "I want to reconfigure, to bring back into the fold" what he called "New Russia." Now that dates back to Catherine II in the 18th century, which included all that land from Moldova all the way to Russia … all belonged to the Russian Empire. And so he has been saying this for years. And he also has been saying anybody [who] disagrees with him is a fascist and a Nazi. And so … this is not something new for him. He's very unpredictable. He's going to press his generals. He's going to arrest people in his own household [who] don't collaborate and cooperate with him. And he's really focused on redoing the things that he's been announcing for years and years.
Human Rights Foundation chairman and former Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov predicted the "end of Putin" on "Cavuto: Coast to Coast" Wednesday, arguing the United States and its allies must uphold sanctions against Russia until Ukraine and Crimea territories have been recovered.
"I think America has to declare that its sanctions will not be removed, will not be eased, until Ukrainian territorial integrity has been restored," Kasparov told FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto.
"These sanctions must not go until the Ukrainian flag is raised in Crimea," he continued. "That’s key."
Read more on Fox Business: Biden sanctions 'must stay' until Ukraine, Crimea territory restored: Russian chess grandmaster Kasparov
Polish ambassador to the U.S., Marek Magierowski, gave his take on helping Ukraine during its conflict with Russia on "The Story."
AMBASSADOR MAREK MAGIEROWSKI: Well, approximately two weeks ago, my government proposed to the American administration to transfer those aircrafts, the Soviet-made fighter jets to an airbase in Germany and to put them at the disposal of NATO because a hypothetical transfer of these airplanes to Ukraine should be a unilateral decision – and, I'm sorry, a unanimous decision – of all of NATO member states. So, it was ... pretty important for Poland not to make the decision unilaterally and of course, that decision and that proposal was turned down by the American administration. We have to move on right now and try to deliver as many weapons as possible to Ukraine in order to help the Ukrainians defend themselves and repel that barbaric aggression on the part of the Russian Federation.
China will seek to strengthen ties with Russia as the U.S. and NATO allies call on Beijing to instead apply greater pressure and apply sanctions to Moscow amid the invasion of Ukraine.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. Both ministers condemned the "illegal" and "counter-productive" Western sanctions imposed in reaction to the invasion.
"Both sides are more determined to develop bilateral ties, and are more confident in promoting cooperation in various fields," Wang said. "China is willing to work with Russia to take China-Russian ties to a higher level in a new era under the guidance of the consensus reached by the heads of state."
Read more: Ukraine war: Russia, China look to develop closer ties in face of 'illegal' Western sanctions
President Biden promised Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy an additional $500 million in aid during their nearly one-hour phone conversation Wednesday, the White House confirmed.
The call between the leaders of the U.S. and Ukraine lasted from approximately 11:08 a.m. to 12:03 p.m. EST, and afterward both parties revealed what was discussed.
Biden informed Zelenskyy "that the United States intends to provide the Ukrainian government with $500 million in direct budgetary aid," according to the White House.
Ukraine’s chief negotiator in the ongoing peace talks with Russia said Wednesday that Kyiv will only sign an agreement once all Russian forces have completely withdrawn.
"When we reach the conditional signing of the agreement, or at least the point when it can be seriously discussed, they will have to withdraw completely. And only then will we sit down to sign, endorse or initial it," David Arakhamia, head of Ukraine’s delegation and negotiating team, said during an interview with a Ukrainian news outlet.
"At the negotiations, we talk[ed] about the return of their troops to their positions as of Feb. 23 this year. As long as they remain in the territories they've occupied after Feb. 23, there can be no agreements of any kind," he added.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby credited U.S. and NATO training of Ukrainian forces during the last eight years in helping the country defend itself from the Russian invasion.
Asked during Wednesday's press briefing what intelligence agencies got wrong in believing that the Russian military would quickly overwhelm Ukraine, Kirby praised the Ukrainian military's "inspiring" effort to defend their country above what many had expected.
But Kirby also noted that the performance of the Ukrainian military isn't a surprise to the U.S., who along with allies has helped train Ukrainian forces over the eight years since Russia annexed Crimea.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the Defense Department "concurs with the basic finding" that Russian President Vladimir Putin isn't being fully informed on the battlefield situation in Ukraine by Russian leader.s
"We would concur with the conclusion that Mr. Putin has not been fully informed," Kirby said during a press briefing Wednesday.
Kirby declined to get into more detail, citing sensitive intelligence.
The comments come after Fox News reported earlier Wednesday that senior U.S. officials believe Putin has been misinformed on the state of the situation on Ukraine, with many leaders being "afraid to tell him the truth" about the situation on the ground.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said that a small percentage of Russian troops that were operating around Kyiv have been repositioning in the last 24 hours, some of which have been on the move to Belarus.
"We have seen over the last 24 hours a repositioning of a small percentage of troops... some of those troops we asses are repositioning into Belarus," Kirby said during Wednesday's press briefing.
But Kirby stressed that the U.S. doesn't believe those troops have been sent home, raising questions about how serious Russian President Vladimir Putin is about deescalating the situation in Ukraine.
"We have seen none of them reposition to their home garrison," Kirby said. "If they are serious about deescalating, they should send them home."
Kirby said the U.S. believes the forces are attempting to refit and resupply before potentially sending them back out to another part of Ukraine.
Kirby stressed that Kyiv is still being hit by bombardment and air strikes, noting that the majority of forces Russia put around Kyiv are still there.
U.S. Gen. Tod Wolters admitted that President Joe Biden's strategy to deter Russia from invading Ukraine failed during testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.
Wolters made the admission in response to questions from Republican Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher. While Gallagher did not reference Biden by name, he questioned Wolters about the effectiveness of the U.S. effort to deter Russia's invasion by non-military means in the months leading up to the invasion.
"You as a combatant commander felt that you were part of an inter-agency effort intended to deter Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine?" Gallagher asked.
"That's correct," Wolters responded. "Deter and dissuade."
"Would it be fair to say that deterrence failed in Ukraine?" Gallagher pressed.
"Number one I would say that NATO's solidarity remained," Wolters began, before being cut off by Gallagher pressing for a direct answer to the question.
"I can't argue with your conclusion," Wolters finished.
For more on this story: US commander admits Biden's deterrence strategy failed in Ukraine
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told FOX Business' Stuart Varney Wednesday that Ukraine has not yet been sent Switchblade drones by the U.S. because of an "inventory and a modality issue."
A military expert said to Fox News Digital in mid-March that the drones -- which specialize in limiting collateral damage and enhancing guerilla tactics -- could prove a "game-changer" in the defense against Russia’s invasion.
"They have not been delivered yet, but we're working on that very, very hard," Kirby said Wednesday on 'Varney & Co.'
"As you saw the the president authorized 100 hundred of these tactical unmanned systems to be delivered to Ukraine," he continued. "We're working on that very, very hard. It's really more of an inventory and a modality issue than it is anything else, and we do think we'll be able to get them in there relatively soon."
Fox News' Peter Aitken contributed to this report.
Russian forces have shelled an empty Red Cross building in Mariupol, Ukraine, twice, according to the humanitarian aid organization and satellite imagery.
The Red Cross confirmed a satellite photo circulating online Wednesday showing an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warehouse in Mariupol with large holes through its roof, which displayed the red and white Red Cross symbols.
Satellite imagery shows the northern side of the building was first struck sometime between March 19-22. The southern side of the warehouse was hit again on sometime between March 23-26.
ICRC's Alyona Synenko, who is based in Kyiv, said the warehouse had been emptied of all supplies, such as medical equipment and other humanitarian aid, as of March 15.
For more on this story: Russian forces shell Red Cross warehouse in Mariupol
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday that he spoke over the phone with President Biden for around an hour and shared his "assessment of the situation on the battlefield and at the negotiating table.
"Talked about specific defensive support, a new package of enhanced sanctions, macro-financial and humanitarian aid," he added.
The White House, in a statement, said the two leaders "discussed how the United States is working around the clock to fulfill the main security assistance requests by Ukraine, the critical effects those weapons have had on the conflict, and continued efforts by the United States with allies and partners to identify additional capabilities to help the Ukrainian military defend its country.
"In addition, President Biden informed President Zelenskyy that the United States intends to provide the Ukrainian government with $500 million in direct budgetary aid," the White House also said.
Fox News correspondent Bryan Llenas reports on the latest news out of Ukraine.
Russia on Wednesday said there was little progress in the way of a breakthrough during peace talks with Ukraine as it continues its deadly campaign on its neighbor.
"We cannot state that there was anything too promising or any breakthroughs," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, first reported Radio Free Europe.
Speaking from Moscow, Peskov apparently welcomed the written demands presented by Kyiv but said "there is a lot of work to be done."
Negotiations with Ukraine adjourned Tuesday following talks in Turkey with both sides acknowledging they will take the discussions back to their respective governments.
For more on this story: Russia claims little accomplished in peace talks with Ukraine
“The situation inside Ukraine is spiralling,” UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said in a statement. “As the number of children fleeing their homes continues to climb, we must remember that every single one of them needs protection, education, safety and support.”
UNICEF also estimates that more than 2.5 million children have been internally displaced inside of Ukraine.
Overall, the U.N. believes more than 4 million people have fled Ukraine during the conflict.
This White House said Wednesday that President Biden with speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at 10:45 a.m. ET "to discuss our continued support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression."
Fox News' Alex Hogan reports on Russia's ongoing assault against Ukrainian cities.
Irpin Mayor Oleksandr Markushyn said Wednesday that an estimated 200 to 300 civilians were killed in Irpin before Ukraine's military recaptured the city from Russian forces this week, Reuters reports.
Markushyn reportedly added that 50 Ukrainian soldiers also were killed in fighting there -- some of whose bodies are still trapped under the rubble.
Despite losing the area, Russian forces have continued to shell it overnight, he also said Wednesday.
Ukraine's Army said Wednesday that it is seeing Russian troops "continue to accumulate in the area of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the Shelter facility and the Exclusion Zone in general.
"Thus, the movement of mixed columns of Russian enemy vehicles from the settlement of Ivankiv in the direction of the Chornobyl NPP was recorded," it also said.
Reports are emerging that an explosion that rocked a Russian military camp in the border city of Belgorod yesterday may have been caused by a fire -- not shelling from Ukrainian forces.
Vyacheslav Gladkov, the regional governor of the area, reportedly wrote on Telegram that "unconfirmed reports suggest that there was a fire at the ammunition depot."
Ukraine's army, meanwhile, described the explosion as an "unauthorized detonation" of "obsolete dangerous munitions."
"Yesterday, in the Russian city of Belgorod, due to neglect of safety rules and violation of the requirements for the transportation of ammunition, their unauthorized detonation took place," it said in a Facebook post Wednesday. "This situation is an example of the typical mass use of obsolete dangerous munitions by Russian servicemen, including during the Second World War.
"Only yesterday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine warned of the threat of self-detonation of ammunition, a huge number of which Russia has set up in the area of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant," the Ukrainian military also said.
A U.S. official tells Fox News on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin "didn’t even know his military was using and losing conscripts in Ukraine, showing a clear breakdown in the flow of accurate information to the Russian President.
"We believe that Putin is being misinformed by his advisors about how badly the Russian military is performing and how the Russian economy is being crippled by sanctions, because his senior advisors are too afraid to tell him the truth," the official added.
Top Ukrainian officials have called on the United Nations to take immediate action to prevent a "nuclear catastrophe" by demilitarizing Russian forces that have occupied the Chernobyl exclusion zone.
"Is the world ready for a nuclear catastrophe because of Russia's bungling?" questioned Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk in a Wednesday Telegram post.
"The occupiers set up an ammunition depot near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant," she continued, adding that the "occupiers' stupidity is worse than their villainy."
Vereshchuk called on the U.N. in a video address to establish a special mission in the region to prioritize demilitarizing the area around the Chernobyl nuclear station – which has been occupied by Russian troops since the first day of its deadly invasion last month.
Ukrainian workers have continued to operate the site, but security officials remain concerned that the power plant could once again face a nuclear disaster similar to the 1986 catastrophe.
For more on this story: Ukraine calls on UN to push Russia away from Chernobyl to prevent 'nuclear catastrophe'
Jim Lejcar and Artur Stypula of the Salem Lakes, Wisconsin fire department, say they were 'blown away' by the amount of support from surrounding communities.
The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence said Wednesday that "Russian units suffering heavy losses have been forced to return to Belarus and Russia to reorganize and resupply."
"Such activity is placing further pressure on Russia’s already strained logistics and demonstrates the difficulties Russia is having reorganizing its units in forward areas within Ukraine," it said in a tweet.
The Ministry also believes Russia's "stated focus on an offensive in Donetsk and Luhansk is likely a tacit admission that it is struggling to sustain more than one significant axis of advance."
Tyler Jacob, an American teaching in Ukraine, joined 'Fox & Friends First' for an exclusive interview Wednesday to discuss his detention by Russian forces for 10 days while trying to flee Ukraine.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov announced Wednesday that Russian troops used air-launched long-range cruise missiles to target fuel depots in Starokostiantyniv and Khmelnytskyi in central Ukraine.
Konashenkov added in a statement that the Russian forces also hit the Ukrainian special forces headquarters in Bereznehuvate in the southern Mykolaiv region.
Konashenkov also said that the Russian military used mobile land-based Iskander missile launchers to hit two ammunition depots in the eastern Donetsk region, where Moscow says it's now focusing on.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Alexey Goncharenko, a member of Ukrainian parliament, says it's clear Russia is playing a 'fake game' by entertaining peace negotiations.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that there was no major progress to report following Tuesday's talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators in Turkey.
Peskov said it was a “positive factor” that Ukraine submitted written proposals, but added that “we can’t say there has been something promising or any breakthroughs.”
On Tuesday, Ukraine set out a detailed framework for a peace deal under which the country would remain neutral but its security would be guaranteed by a group of third countries, including the U.S., Britain, France, Turkey, China and Poland. It said it would also be willing to hold talks over a 15-year period on the future of the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
The Kremlin spokesman didn't discuss details of the negotiations, but when asked about the Ukrainian offer of talks over the status of Crimea, he said there is nothing to discuss because Crimea is part of Russia under the country’s constitution.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The United Nations now says 4,019,287 people are estimated to have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24.
More than 2.3 million of those people are believed to be taking refuge in Poland, while Romania is housing around 600,000.
An estimated 350,632 people have left Ukraine for Russia, the U.N. also says.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said Wednesday that Russian troops are still near Kyiv and haven't left the city of Chernihiv despite Russia's claims Tuesday that they would do so.
Arestovych says instead, Russia has moved some of its troops from areas near Kyiv to the east in an effort to encircle the Ukrainian forces there.
He added that Russia has left some of its forces near Kyiv to tie up Ukrainian troops there and prevent them moving to other areas, while no Russian forces have pulled back yet from the northern city of Chernihiv.
Chernihiv governor Viacheslav Chaus also said that Russian strikes against civilian infrastructure continued overnight despite the Russian claim.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s state agency for emergencies said that the death toll in a Russian strike on the regional administration building in the southern city of Mykolaiv on Tuesday has risen to 14.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Russian forces have kept up a ruthless bombardment of the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv, despite official statements claiming that Russian troops are withdrawing from Kyiv and Chernihiv to refocus on the eastern Donbas region, Kyiv residents tell Fox News.
"After their statements yesterday nothing has changed at all," Maryan Zablotskyy, a member of the Ukrainian parliament who got his wife and child out of Kyiv, told Fox News Digital. "Fighting [continued] all through the night around Kyiv."
"They are forced to retreat from different areas around Kyiv," Zablotskyy noted, "but only if they are successfully pushed back."
Russia claimed to be reducing its military presence in Kyiv and Chernihiv on Tuesday. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reportedly said that "liberating Donbas" in eastern Ukraine – where Russian-backed separatists have taken power – is Moscow's primary objective.
Russia has lost an estimated 7,000 to 15,000 troops, according to a senior NATO official.
Ukraine's government believes the amount of equipment lost by Russian forces is much higher and estimates that more than 400 Russian tanks have been destroyed, according to the report.
Michael Ryan, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for European and NATO Policy told Fox News Digital that Russian forces may have run out of momentum and have reached a "culminating point."
"Most military observers and very senior American army generals believe that the Russian army reached a culminating point. A significant aspect of that is the losses that they've sustained," Ryan said.
Poland Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced Wednesday that his country will move to cut Russian oil imports by the end of 2022.
Morawiecki described the plan as the most radical among European nations to become independent of Russian energy.
Poland is also moving to ban the import of Russian coal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
During Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's nightly address, he specified that Russian sanctions would not be lifted during the negotiation process.
"The issue of sanctions cannot even be raised until this war is over, until we return what belongs to us, and until we restore justice," he said, according to a report.
"Sanctions must be intensified, intensified weekly, and they must be of high quality. Not just for headlines in the media that sanctions have been imposed, but for a real peace. The real one," he added.
Almost a quarter of Ukraine’s population of 40 million has been displaced since the start of the Russian war, just 34 days ago, according to a report.
New data from the UN Refugee Agency shows that over 10 million people have been directly impacted by the ongoing conflict, with over 6.5 million people displaced within Ukraine and another 3.7 million Ukrainian refugees forced to evacuate the country, fleeing to neighboring Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and other countries.
More than 13 million Ukrainians forced to leave their communities are now stranded amid the ongoing war, with no way out of areas that have been shelled by Russian forces.
Humanitarian mission to Mariupol not possible "at this stage," France said.
French President Emmanuel Macron asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to open a corridor from Mariupol making humanitarian aid tenable, but he didn’t receive a positive answer, according to a report.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed caution during his nightly address.
"The signals we hear from the negotiating platform can be called positive. But these signals do not drown out the ruptures of Russian shells," he said after 34 days of warring with Russia.
Ukraine is seeking concrete security guarantees during peace negations in Turkey, including promises of military assistance during a future conflict from the world's "leading armies," including those with nuclear weapons, in exchange for adopting neutral status.
"The Treaty on Security Guarantees essentially assumes, not in theory, but in practice, to obtain an effective instrument for protecting our territory and sovereignty," Mihailo Podolyuak, top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said of the talks. "The guarantor countries become, so to speak, the leading armies of the world, including those with a nuclear component, which take on specific legal obligations — to intervene in any conflict on the territory of Ukraine, to immediately supply weapons."
Russian media acknowledged Tuesday that two border villages had to be evacuated because of shelling from Ukraine, one of the first signs that Ukraine has begun to take the fight across the border and into Russia.
Interfax, a Russian government controlled publication, reported that a possible shell from Ukraine exploded in the village of Zhuravlyovka, resulting in some injuries and a home being destroyed.
The shelling forced evacuations of Zhuravlyovka and nearby Niekhoteyevka to the Russian town of Belgorod, displacing about 180 people.
The report indicated that the explosion was not an accident, though it did not confirm that the explosion was due to hostile fire from Ukraine.
RIA Novsti, another Russian publication friendly to the Kremlin, also reported on an explosion near the two towns that injured four, people saying the attack originated from Ukraine.
Fox News cannot independently verify the reported attacks within Russia, though the reports are originating from Russian media outlets.
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