World leaders in Japan, China as a negotiator, and grain deal deadline: What to watch for this week.
While the battle for Bakhmut, a mostly ruined city where tens of thousands of soldiers are believed to have died, continues to rage after Ukraine made some gains for the first time in months, world leaders are planning several efforts in the coming days to find new diplomatic avenues for ending the war.
Later this week, leaders from the Group of 7 nations — the United States, Japan, Canada, Britain, France, Germany and Italy, as well as the European Union — will be gathering in Hiroshima, Japan, for a weekend of meetings. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is on the agenda.
“Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is a challenge to the rule-based international order, and the G7 has responded in a united manner,” the group’s website says. “The G7 will continue to strongly promote sanctions against Russia and supports for Ukraine.”
Here’s what else we’re watching this week:
China makes a diplomatic push: The Chinese government’s special representative for Eurasian affairs, Li Hui, is scheduled to begin a trip on Monday that includes visits to Ukraine and Russia, part of an attempt to help negotiate an end to the war, a Chinese government spokesman said last week. Beijing said that Mr. Li would “conduct in-depth communication with all parties” to try to reach a “political settlement.”
Black Sea grain deal: The future of the grain deal that has allowed Ukraine to export millions of tons of grain from its Black Sea ports, despite Russia’s control of the waterways, remains uncertain. Russia has threatened to not extend the agreement after it expires on Thursday. Representatives from Ukraine, Russia, the United Nations and Turkey met last week in Istanbul, but there was no breakthrough on an extension. The parties agreed to keep talking online.
Raising awareness: Brittney Griner, a center for the Phoenix Mercury, will be playing her first official game in nearly two years when the 2023 W.N.B.A. season begins on Friday. She missed the entire 2022 season because she was imprisoned in Russia for nearly 10 months on drug charges. She was released in December in a prisoner exchange. The Mercury and Griner have partnered with the Bring Our Families Home campaign to support others being held overseas, like Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter.