Russia-Ukraine war latest updates: Blinken warns China against ‘lethal support’ to Russia


An earlier version of this report erroneously called Chuck Todd a CBS employee. Todd hosts “Meet the Press” on NBC. This version has been corrected.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is warning China against supporting Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine. Blinken said he told China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, that there would be “serious consequences” if Beijing aids Moscow with munitions or helps the Kremlin evade sanctions when the two met on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. In television interviews that aired Sunday, Blinken said that China is considering providing “lethal support,” including weapons and ammunition, to Russia — and that he told Wang of Washington’s concerns.

Wang said at the Munich conference that world leaders need to think “about what kind of efforts we can make to stop this war.” Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to deliver a “peace speech” Friday, the anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

Putin, czar with no empire, needs military victory for his own survival: MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin likes to portray himself as a new czar like Peter the Great or Ivan III, the 15th-century grand prince known as the “gatherer of the Russian lands.” But Putin’s nearly year-long war in Ukraine has failed so far to secure the lands he aims to seize, and, in Russia, there is fear that he is leading his nation into a dark period of strife and stagnation or worse.

Some in the elite also say the Russian leader now desperately needs a military victory to ensure his own survival, Robyn Dixon and Catherine Belton report. “In Russia, loyalty does not exist,” said one Russian billionaire.

Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began with hubris and a zeal to reshape the world order. But even as he suffered repeated military defeats — diminishing his stature globally and staining him with allegations of atrocities being committed by his troops — Putin has tightened his authoritarian grip at home, using the war to destroy any opposition and to engineer a closed, paranoid society hostile to liberals, hipsters, LGBTQ people, and, especially, to Western-style freedom and democracy.

Now, with his troops reinforced by conscripts and convicts and poised to launch new offensives, the 70-year-old Russian leader needs a win to maintain his own credibility. “Putin needs some success to demonstrate to society that he is still very successful,” a senior Ukrainian security official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss politically sensitive issues.

Natalia Abbakumova, Rick Noack, Emily Rauhala and Adela Suliman contributed to this report.

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