(Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have been sparring verbally, presenting starkly different views of the world and the Ukraine war, with Biden promising to defend democracies and Putin asserting the West was a threat to Russia.
* Putin in Moscow on Tuesday delivered a nuclear warning to the West over Ukraine, suspending a bilateral nuclear arms control treaty, announcing new strategic systems were on combat duty and warning that Moscow could resume nuclear tests.
* Putin said: “The elites of the West do not hide their purpose … They intend to transform a local conflict into a phase of global confrontation. This is exactly how we understand it all and we will react accordingly, because in this case we are talking about the existence of our country.”
* Biden, fresh from pledging support for Ukraine on an unannounced visit to Kyiv, was in Poland making his case for a sustained Western effort to ensure Kyiv wins the war.
* Biden said: “When Russia invaded, it wasn’t just Ukraine being tested. The whole world faced a test for the ages.”
He said the United States and its NATO allies stood up for freedom and democracy and “there should be no doubt: Our support for Ukraine will not waver, NATO will not be divided, and we will not tire”.
* China is “deeply worried” that the Ukraine conflict could spiral out of control, Foreign Minister Qin Gang said, and he called on certain countries to stop “fuelling the fire” in an apparent dig at the United States.
* Any peace that entails the surrender of Ukraine to invading Russian forces “cannot be a real peace”. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said while visiting Kyiv.
* Financial leaders of the Group of Seven will meet on Thursday to discuss measures against Russia, Japan’s Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said.
* U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said Washington and its allies will impose new sanctions and export controls in “coming days” to ratchet up pressure on Russia to end the war and crack down on companies and individuals who are helping Moscow evade sanctions.
* The European Union is close to a 10th sanctions package against Russia and EU governments hope to reach a deal on Wednesday if they can overcome differences about a ban on Russian rubber and diamond imports, EU diplomats said.
* Near Bakhmut, the focal point of Russian advances in the eastern region of Donetsk, 18 towns and villages came under fire, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said in a statement on Tuesday night.
* The Russian defence ministry said its troops had made a 2.5 km (1.5 miles) advance towards the city of Bakhmut, seen by the Kremlin as a main staging post in capturing other towns further west in Donetsk region.
* Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of Russia’s mercenary group Wagner, accused unspecified officials of deliberately denying his fighters sufficient ammunition as part of an ongoing rivalry between himself and parts of the Russian elite.
* Ukraine’s Zelenskiy has defied Putin against the odds, a year into war.
* Putin, secure in power, has set the stage for a long and draining war.
* A year on from Russia’s invasion, Ukraine and its government have not just survived. They’ve fought back.
* Toughened by war’s scars, Kyiv presses on while Russia attacks
* Hairdresser by day, drone hunter by night helps defend skies over Ukraine
* Russian defence chief keeps job despite Ukraine routsthanks to Putin
* BREAKINGVIEWS-Even a weak Russia is a problem for Europe
* BREAKINGVIEWS-Ukraine yet to make defence a safe investor haven
(Compiled by Reuters editors)