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Latest in Ukraine: Expectations are growing for China's Xi Jinping to visit Russia

Oscar del Pozo/AFP via Getty Images
Ukrainian military personnel receive training on German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks at a Spanish army training center in Zaragoza, Spain, on Monday.

Here's a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week.

What to watch

Observers await plans for Chinese leader Xi Jinping to visit Moscow and meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. There are reports Xi could also hold talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

This week marks nine years since the disputed Crimea referendum and Russian annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine. Many countries condemned the vote and refuse to recognize Crimea's accession to Russia.

The United Nations-brokered deal to export Ukrainian grain safely from Black Sea ports could expire this weekend, with Russia threatening to pull out over complaints the agreement has failed to free up Russian agricultural exports.

What happened last week

Russian forces took hold of the eastern half of Bakhmut, with Wagner Group mercenary fighters leading the charge, after months of fighting for control of the city in Ukraine's east, according to analysts.

Russia launched its biggest missile strike across Ukraine of 2023 so far, security analysts said. The barrage included hypersonic missiles and killed at least six people and temporarily knocked out power at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear energy plant.

Ukraine batted away accusations it blew up the Nord Stream oil pipelines, after reports in The New York Times and German media said a "pro-Ukrainian group" attacked the infrastructure in September.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres went to Kyiv, the latest prominent world figure to visit Ukraine in recent months.

Navalny won an Oscar for best documentary feature, shining a spotlight on jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. In his acceptance speech, on stage with Navalny's family, director Daniel Roher blasted the Kremlin and said Navalny "remains in solitary confinement for what he calls 'Vladimir Putin's unjust war of aggression in Ukraine.' "

The mother of mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin won a legal challenge against European sanctions. A European Union court ruled that restrictive measures applied to Violetta Prigozhina in February should be annulled because her family relationship with Prigozhin — a Kremlin ally whose Wagner Group is fighting in Ukraine — wasn't enough to justify the sanctions.

Ukrainian troops have been learning to use Leopard 2 tanks in Spain, whose government has said six of its fleet of the German-made battle tanks are in repairs before delivery to Ukraine sometime in the coming weeks.


Ukraine's top nuclear plant lost power for the sixth time. Is disaster imminent?

Yevgeny Prigozhin, "Putin's Chef," has emerged from the shadows with his Wagner Group.

Ukraine's government says it wasn't involved in the attacks on Nord Stream pipelines.

Getting abortion pills into Ukraine during a war meant having to be creative.

The challenge of getting accurate news into Russia.

Georgia's president on how her country is doing a year into the war in Ukraine.

NPR traveled with Attorney General Merrick Garland to Ukraine.

Italy's prime minister supports Ukraine — causing tension within her coalition.

Ukraine's best-known soldier died defending Bakhmut.

Is Russia trying to destabilize Ukraine's neighbor, Moldova?

Ukraine's farmlands are affected by the toxic remnants of war.

Special report

Russia's war in Ukraine is changing the world: See our updated report on its ripple effects in all corners of the globe.

Earlier developments

You can read past recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find more of NPR's coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR's State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.