► Chinese foreign minister in Russia this week
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Russia from Monday September 18 to Thursday September 21 for discussions on security, his ministry announced. “At the invitation of Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Wang Yi (…) will travel to Russia to participate in the 18th session of the China-Russia Strategic Security Consultations,” said a statement published on the ministry website.
Long-time allies, China and Russia frequently boast of their “limitless” partnership and their economic and military cooperation set to intensify. In a briefing, the Russian Foreign Ministry indicated that Wang Yi would meet his counterpart Sergei Lavrov, and that the two men would “focus their efforts on strengthening collaboration on the international scene”.
► Russia says it has shot down Ukrainian drones in Crimea and near Moscow
Russia claimed on the night of Sunday to Monday to have shot down several Ukrainian drones in annexed Crimea, in the Moscow region as well as those of Belgorod and Voronezh, close to Ukraine. Three drones were notably destroyed on Sunday evening above southwest Crimea and another in the Belgorod region, according to updates from the ministry.
These devices bring to 13 the number of drones shot down by Russian defenses on Sunday, including nine in Crimea according to defense reports, which have not reported casualties or damage at this stage.
► Ukraine says its forces have taken control of Klichtchiïvka near Bakhmut
Ukrainian authorities said Sunday that their military forces had recaptured Klichchiivka, a tactically important town south of the town of Bakhmut on the eastern front. “I especially want to mention the soldiers who are returning Ukraine its territories, step by step, in the Bakhmut sector,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his daily video message. “Klichtchiïvka: well done! “, he added, listing the units that took part in the operation. This town, with a few hundred inhabitants before the Russian invasion, was taken by Russian forces in January.
This announcement comes after the Ukrainian armed forces declared on Friday that they had recaptured another locality, Andriivka, south of Bakhmut. The Russian military said on Sunday that this was not the case.
► A “long” war according to Washington and NATO
The Ukrainian counter-offensive “has not failed” but the road to a victory for Kiev is still very long, judged the American chief of staff, General Mark Milley, in an interview broadcast on Sunday.
“This offensive, although slow, slower than expected, remained constant,” he estimated, affirming that the Ukrainians still had “a significant strike force”. The general conceded, however, that it “will take a long time” to achieve Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s goal “of kicking out all the Russians” from the country.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also warned that we should not expect a rapid end to the war in Ukraine, in another interview published on Sunday. “Most wars last longer than was anticipated when they started,” Jens Stoltenberg emphasized in this interview with the German media group Funke. “Therefore we must prepare for a long war in Ukraine,” he added.