On Muted War Holiday, Putin Tries to Justify Invasion of Ukraine

Hours earlier, Russia had used cruise missiles to mount its fifth large aerial attack on Kyiv this month, but it appeared none hit their targets. Explosions shook the city on Tuesday morning and some debris fell, but there were no reports of damage or injury. The Ukrainian military said it had shot down about 18 “air targets” over Kyiv. At least seven others were fired at other parts of the country, and most of those were also intercepted, the military said.

In Warsaw, protesters blocked the Russian ambassador, Sergey Andreev, from laying a wreath at a memorial to Soviet soldiers killed in World War II. Last year, he was splashed with red liquid by protesters chanting, “Fascist!”

Germany’s foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, said at a news conference in Berlin with her Chinese counterpart, Qin Gang, that China “can play a significant role in ending the war if it chooses to do so.”

China has not condemned the invasion, and instead has grown closer to Russia and increased trade with it. The new sanctions Ms. von der Leyen proposed are not aimed at any nation in particular, she added, “but we expect all countries, and we also expect China, to exert appropriate influence on its companies in this sense.”

Mr. Qin responded to questions on Ukraine by saying that “simplification and emotionalization are not the solution.” He added, “China also did not cause this war, is not a party, but it is committed to peace negotiations.”

Reporting was contributed by Shashank Bengali, Oleg Matsnev, Christopher F. Schuetze, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Erika Solomon, Peter Baker, Ben Shpigel, Victoria Kim and Anushka Patil.

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