China's President Xi Jinping on Thursday called for a political solution in Russia's war in Ukraine. During talks with European Council President Charles Michel in Beijing, Xi said that "solving the Ukrainian crisis through political means is in the best interest of Europe and the common interest of all countries in Eurasia."
"Under the current conditions, we must avoid escalation and expansion of the crisis and work for peace," Xi said, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.
Michel is on a one day diplomatic visit to China. According to an EU spokesperson, Michel urged Xi to use China's influence as a permanent member of the Security Council and help "end Russia's brutal destruction and occupation" of Ukraine.
China has not condemned Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and has been critical of sanctions imposed on Moscow.
Shortly before the invasion on February 24, Xi had reaffirmed the relationship between China and Russia, agreeing to deepen cooperation between the two states.
Here are the other main headlines from the war in Ukraine on Thursday, December 1:
Biden open to Putin talks
US President Joe Biden said Thursday "there's one way for this war to end" which is for Russian President Vladimir Putin to pull his troops "out of Ukraine."
Biden also said he's "prepared to speak with Mr. Putin" but the Kremlin is yet to show an interest in dialogue.
Nevertheless, in accordance with NATO allies, Biden would "be happy to sit down with Putin to see what he has in mind."
Biden was speaking during a state visit by French President Emmanuel Macron.
"Bombing nurseries, hospitals, children's homes. It's sick what he's doing," he said. "The idea that Putin is ever going to defeat Ukraine is beyond comprehension."
"He's miscalculated every single thing he initially calculated."
Russia and Ukraine in prisoner exchange
Russia's Defense Ministry said there had been an exchange with Ukraine involving 50 captured personnel from each side.
This follows earlier reports that the top Russian-installed official in the Donetsk region said that a prisoner exchange would be taking place between Moscow and Kyiv.
Andriy Yermak who head up Ukraine's presidential administration said that exchanges would continue "until the liberation of the last Ukrainian."
"The defenders of Mariupol and Azovstal have returned, also those captured ... in the battles in the Donetsk, Luhansk and
Zaporizhzhia directions," Yermak wrote on the Telegram messenger app.
Russia said the released prisoners would be flown to Moscow for medical checks and rehabilitation.
Russia pulling troops from towns opposite Kherson — Ukraine military
Ukraine's military on Thursday said that Russia was pulling troops from towns on the opposite bank of the Dnipro River from Kherson city.
"A decrease in the number of Russian soldiers and military equipment is observed in the settlement of Oleshky," the military said in reference to the town situated opposite Kherson city.
"Enemy troops were withdrawn from certain settlements of the Kherson oblast and dispersed in forest strips along the section of the Oleshka — Hola Prystan highway," the General Staff of Ukraine's armed forces said in a statement, adding that the maintain contingent of forces were "mobilized persons."
The report cannot be independently verified.
Ukraine registers 40,000 war crimes — report
Ukraine's Ministry of Justice has registered 40,000 war crimes, German publication Die Welt reported citing Minister of Justice Denys Maljuska.
Maljuska told the newspaper that the aim was to prosecute crimes of aggression that violate international law and crimes of genocide.
"The attack on another country is a criminal offense if it is unprovoked and the attacked country demonstrably resists. We are collecting evidence for that," Maljuska explained.
Maljuska pointed out that it would be too complicated to establish links between individual soldiers responsible for the crimes and commanders who bore ultimate responsibility. The investigations would therefore not focus on each individual case.
The minister said Russian President Vladimir Putin bore responsibility for the way in which the war was being waged "and therefore he must be brought to justice."
Moscow says Germany's Holodomor vote attempt to 'demonize' Russia
Russia's foreign ministry said on Thursday that Germany's decision to recognize the Stalin-era famine as genocide meant that Berlin was trying to "demonize Russia."
German lawmakers adopted a resolution on the 1932-33 Holodomor which killed millions in Ukraine and said the Soviet leaders also tried to control Ukrainian farmers by oppressing their way of life, language and culture.
In response, Russia's foreign ministry said members of the German parliament had "decided to defiantly support this political and ideological myth fostered by the Ukrainian authorities at the instigation of ultranationalist, Nazi and Russophobic forces."
Moscow said that the resolution was a Western attempt to "demonize Russia" and pit ethnic Ukrainians against Russians.
Restoring joint work with West on European security, doubtful — Lavrov
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said its unlikely that joint work on European security, involving the West, can be restored in future.
"Of course, if and when at some point in time our western neighbors — and there is no getting away from the neighborhood — and former partners suddenly become interested in somehow restoring cooperation on European security, there will be no restoration. Because restoration means going back to something that was before," Russian news agency Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying at a press conference in Moscow. "But business as usual won't happen," Lavrov added.
The comments come as the two day ministerial conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) takes place in Poland, which currently holds the rotating chairmanship.
Warsaw refused to allow Lavrov — who is under Western sanctions — into the country to attend the conference.
Lavrov also slammed Poland's efforts as OSCE chair as "anti-presidency."
"No one has ever caused such damage to the OSCE while being at the helm," the Russian foreign minister said.
More coverage of the war in Ukraine
Read the story of a 102 year old who survived the horrors of the Holodomor and World War II, only to have to experience war again.
And can there be peace while Russian President Vladimir Putin is at the helm? Read more about that, here.
kb/dj (AFP, dpa, AP Reuters, KNA)