ICC issues arrest warrant for Putin.

The International Criminal Court on Friday issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia for war crimes, saying that he bore individual criminal responsibility for the abduction and deportation of Ukrainian children since Russia’s invasion last year.

The likelihood of a trial while Mr. Putin remains in power appears slim, because the court cannot try defendants in absentia. But human rights groups hailed the warrant as an important step toward ending impunity for Russian war crimes in Ukraine. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Finland’s president, Sauli Niinisto, in Ankara, Turkey, on Friday.Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Office, via Reuters

Turkey announced on Friday that it would move to ratify Finland’s application to join NATO, clearing a significant hurdle for the Nordic nation’s bid to join the alliance but leaving neighboring Sweden on the sidelines for now.

“We decided to start the ratification process in our Parliament for Finland’s membership,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey told a news conference, saying he hopes the vote will take place before elections in mid-May.President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and China’s leader, Xi Jinping, in Beijing last year, in a photo from Russian state news media.Sputnik, via Reuters

China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, will travel to Russia to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin next week in a visit that could have broad implications for Moscow’s war in Ukraine and the troubled relationship between Beijing and Washington.

Mr. Xi is expected to make a state visit to Russia from Monday to Wednesday, China’s Foreign Ministry and the Kremlin said in statements. It will be his first visit to Russia since the country launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine more than a year ago.John F. Kirby, the spokesman for the National Security Council, at the White House. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The United States on Friday said it was opposed to a Chinese proposal for an immediate cease-fire between Russia and Ukraine because it would cement the position of the troops of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

“A cease-fire now is, again, effectively the ratification of Russian conquest,” John F. Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told reporters, responding to an expected meeting next week between Mr. Putin and Xi Jinping, China’s top leader.Two MIG-29 fighter jets during NATO exercises near an air base in Lask, in central Poland, last year.Radoslaw Jozwiak/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The government of Slovakia said on Friday that it would send 13 Soviet-designed fighter jets to Ukraine, a day after a similar announcement by Poland’s president, marking a possibly significant shift from NATO allies in increasing arms supplies for Kyiv.

Most of Slovakia’s MIG-29 warplanes are not in working order so their delivery to Ukraine, most likely to provide spare parts for Ukraine’s own fleet of Soviet-era jets, will not change the balance of force on the battlefield. But it could add momentum to a Polish-led push within NATO, of which both Slovakia and Poland are members, to break a taboo on sending Ukraine warplanes to defend against Russia’s invasion.F-16 fighter jets taking part in a NATO exercise in Poland, in October 2022.Radoslaw Jozwiak/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s fighter pilotshave helped to keep Russia from controlling the skies above the battlefield in the yearlong war. But the fact remains that Russia’s air force dwarfs Ukraine’s and its pilots have far superior technology.

The addition of more than a dozen Soviet-designed MIG fighter jets from Poland and Slovakia will certainly help Ukraine, which has seen dozens of aircraft shot down or worn out after more than a year of combat. But Ukrainian officials and military analysts do not expect the MIGs pledged so far to fundamentally alter the battle in the skies.A Russian Su-27 fighter approaching the back of the American MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday as seen in a still image taken from a government handout video.U.S. Department of Defense, via Associated Press

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Friday it would give state awards to the pilots of two Su-27 fighter jets who forced a $32 million American reconnaissance drone into the depths of the Black Sea on Tuesday, an incident that escalated tensions between the two superpowers.


Defense Minister Sergei K. Shoigu planned to decorate the pilots for preventing “the violation by the American MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle of the borders of the area of ​​​​the temporary regime for the use of airspace,” the ministry announced in a statement.Ukrainian troops firing toward Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine, this month.Tyler Hicks/The New York TimesThe 80th Air Assault Brigade fired a British howitzer toward Russian positions in Bakhmut recently.Tyler Hicks/The New York TimesSoldiers from the 71st Separate Hunting Brigade of the Air Assault Forces on the front line in the Donetsk region of Ukraine.Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

The Ukrainian military is firing thousands of artillery shells a day as it tries to hold the eastern city of Bakhmut, a pace that American and European officials say is unsustainable and could jeopardize a planned springtime campaign that they hope will prove decisive.An MQ-9 Reaper drone was forced into the Black Sea on Tuesday after a Russian fighter jet damaged its propeller, the Pentagon said.Fabrizio Villa/Getty Images

Moscow will face formidable obstacles if it tries to retrieve the wreckage of a U.S. Reaper drone that crashed into the Black Sea after a high-altitude collision with a Russian fighter jet, maritime rescue experts said on Thursday.

The operation could take weeks and cost tens of millions of dollars, they said. And just locating the drone might not be easy, given that it is most likely scattered on the seabed.

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