Russian sanctions over Ukraine grow, Biden to talk to Chinese President Xi, clarifying that China "will bear responsibility for any actions it takes to support Russia's aggression
Japan and Australia on Friday slapped fresh sanctions on Russian entities as punishment for Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, which the West says has been stalled by staunch resistance but continues to take a devastating toll on civilians.
Ukraine's capital Kyiv reported "chaotic" Russian shelling while rescuers in the besieged port of Mariupol dug survivors from the rubble of bombed buildings. Officials from the two countries met again for peace talks on Thursday but said their positions remained far apart.
Western sources and Ukrainian officials said Russia's assault has faltered since its troops invaded on Feb. 24, further dashing Moscow's expectations of a swift victory and the removal of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's government.
Despite battleground setbacks and punitive sanctions by the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown little sign of relenting.
His government says it is counting on China to help Russia withstand blows to its economy.
The United States, which this week announced $800 million in new military aid to Kyiv, is concerned Beijing is "considering directly assisting Russia with military equipment to use in Ukraine," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
President Joe Biden, who described Putin as a "murderous dictator", will make clear to China's President Xi Jinping in a call Friday that Beijing "will bear responsibility for any actions it takes to support Russia's aggression," Blinken told reporters.
The pair are due to speak at 9 a.m. Eastern time (1300 GMT), the White House said.
China has refused to condemn Russia's action in Ukraine or call it an invasion. It says it recognises Ukraine's sovereignty but that Russia has legitimate security concerns that should be addressed.
Chinese foreign ministry official met this week with Russia's ambassador to China to exchange views on counter-terrorism and security cooperation, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday.