Putin Accepts His Invitation To G20 Summit In November

Putin Accepts His Invitation To G20 Summit In November

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5 hr 43 min agoPutin accepts his invitation to the G20 summit in NovemberFrom Jorge Engels in London

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games medalists and paralympic athletes at the Grand Kremlin Palace, on April 26, in Moscow, Russia. (Getty Images)Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted an invitation to attend the G20 summit that will be held on the Indonesian island of Bali in November, the country’s President Joko Widodo said in a statement Friday. 

“Indonesia wants to unite the G20. Don’t let there be a split. Peace and stability are the keys to the recovery and development of the world economy,” Widodo said in the statement from Indonesia’s Cabinet.

Widodo also extended an invitation earlier this week to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who tweeted he was “grateful” for the invite, but did not specify whether he would attend the summit.

Earlier this week, Widodo spoke with Putin and Zelensky in separate phone calls, during which he conveyed to Putin the importance of ending the war in Ukraine “immediately” and Indonesia’s desire to contribute to a peaceful resolution to the conflict, according to the statement.

Widodo said he conveyed to Zelensky Indonesia’s readiness to provide humanitarian assistance to Ukraine but not military assistance, which he said is prohibited by Indonesia’s constitution and its foreign policy principles.

5 hr 57 min agoSweden and Finland remain undecided on NATO membershipFrom CNN’s Arnaud Siad

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto arrives to take part in a NATO foreign ministers meeting at the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on March 4. (Yves Herman/Reuters)Sweden and Finland could deepen their military cooperation if the security situation in the Baltic Sea region deteriorates generally or is triggered by a potential application to join NATO, Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said Friday.

But, standing alongside his Swedish counterpart Ann Linde at a Helsinki news conference, Haavisto said that neither country has decided yet whether to apply for NATO membership. Russia has previously warned that such a move could lead to a more aggressive stance from Moscow. 

“We already have ongoing cooperation. Of course, if our security environment becomes more challenging of course we can add bilateral planning, and it includes all sectors on military cooperation,” Haavisto said.

On the question of NATO membership, Linde said: “We have not come to a conclusion yet in Sweden.” No decision will be made before May 13, when an analysis report from Parliament on membership is due to be delivered, she added.

Haavisto said it would be “important” that both countries make a decision on joining NATO “in the same direction and in the same timeframe,” while “fully respecting” the independence of their respective decision-making over the issue.

On Thursday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the accession process would “go quickly” and interim measures would be put in place should Finland and Sweden decide to apply to join the alliance.

Russia has threatened serious consequences should the countries do so, with the Kremlin saying on April 7 it would have to “rebalance the situation” if they did.

Finland joining NATO would add an additional 830-mile border between the alliance and Russia.

6 hr 10 min agoRussian forces shell railway hub and supply line in eastern UkraineFrom CNN’s Tim Lister in Lviv and Olga Voitovych in Kyiv

A railway wagon and sleepers burning after an attack near Lyman station, Ukraine, on April 28. (Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images)Russian troops have shelled an important railway hub and supply line for Ukrainian troops in the country’s east, according to video footage published on Thursday and Friday.

The video shows railroad trucks on fire in the town of Lyman, a few miles east of Sloviansk, in Donetsk region.

The Russians were trying “to advance from the north of the region, neighbouring Kharkiv region — in the Lyman direction, and do everything possible to get a direct route towards Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, reaching their strategic goals in the Donetsk region,” said Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of Donetsk regional military administration.

Kyrylenko insisted that “the enemy cannot break through. Lyman city is under the Ukrainian Armed Forces control.”

However, he said the Russians were using artillery and airstrikes to wipe out settlements and prevent the Ukrainian defenders from fortifying their positions.

Excluding the city of Mariupol, nearly 1.7 million people had lived in government-controlled parts of Donetsk on the eve of the war, Kyrylenko added. Now there are about 370,000 civilians in the region.

Some background: Lyman has come under bombardment as Russian troops continue their military offensive across Ukraine’s eastern regions.

On Friday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces said that Russian forces are also trying to inflict air strikes in eastern Ukraine.

The Izium area, located in the Kharkiv region, has become a staging ground for Russian forces as they try to advance through neighboring Donetsk and Luhansk. No offensive operations in that area have been conducted in recent hours, said the Ukrainian military.

“The main effort was focused on reconnaissance, identification of defensive positions of the units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine and hitting them with artillery fire,” the General Staff said.

Further southeast, “in order to prevent the redeployment of our troops, the enemy is shelling the positions with artillery, mortars and multiple rocket launchers along the entire line of contact,” it added.

CNN’s Julia Kesaieva contributed reporting to this post.

6 hr 28 min agoUK war crime experts will fly to Ukraine to help investigate “atrocities” by Russian forcesFrom CNN’s Sarah Diab and Jorge Engels in London

The exhumation of the bodies of civilians killed in the Russian invasion of Ukraine from a mass grave in Bucha, Ukraine, on April 13. (Anatolii Siryk/Ukrinform/Future Publishing/Getty Images)The UK will send a team of war crime experts to Ukraine to help investigate “atrocities” by Russian troops in the country, British officials have said.

They will arrive in Poland next week to meet the Ukrainian government, international partners, NGOs and refugees, according to a statement from the Foreign Office (FCDO).

The aim is to help gather evidence to prosecute Russian war crimes, the FCDO said on Friday.

The team will include experts in conflict related sexual violence, following reports of abuse by Russian forces in Ukraine. 

The news comes as UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss travels to the Hague on Friday to meet with the International Criminal Court (ICC) President, Judge Piotr Hofmanski. Truss will also work with her Dutch counterpart, Wopke Hoekstra, during her visit to jointly hold Russia to account, the statement added.

“Russia has brought barbarity to Ukraine and committed vile atrocities, including against women,” Truss said in the statement.

British expertise will help uncover the truth and hold Putin’s regime to account for its actions. Justice will be done.”

UK Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab also visited the Hague in March to support the ICC’s investigations as well as a report produced under the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Moscow Mechanism), which found evidence of torture, rape and forced deportation of more than half a million people in Ukraine.

Some background: The announcement comes three days after the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, Karim Khan, told CNN that here will be “a case to answer in due course” on Russia’s alleged war crimes in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

“We will get to the truth because there’s no place to hide in the courtroom. Whatever the narratives and counter-narratives, the evidence should properly be tested … and there will be — I think — a case to answer in due course,” Khan told CNN’s Anderson Cooper during a wide-ranging interview, when asked how the ICC might build a case in Ukraine. 

Khan made the comments while reviewing images shared wit

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