Ex-Russian president suggests Japanese PM should ritually disembowel himself

Dmitry Medvedev accuses Fumio Kishida of shameful subservience to US after Joe Biden meeting

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has accused Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida of shameful subservience to the US and suggested he should ritually disembowel himself.

His remarks on Saturday were the latest in a long line of shocking and provocative statements from Medvedev, who was once seen as a western-leaning reformer but has reinvented himself as an arch-hawk since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

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Japan’s PM vows to modernise military for new era of threats

Fumio Kishida outlines step change in US-Japan security alliance after White House meeting with Joe Biden

Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, has pledged to modernise his country’s military alongside US president Joe Biden, warning that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had opened a dangerous new era and could embolden China.

Welcoming Kishida at the White House, Biden hailed the Japanese government’s announcement last month that it will double defence spending over the next five years and develop new capabilities.

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The world in 2023: what our writers say you should watch out for

From Ukraine developments and China’s Covid surge to renewable energy and hope for the Amazon

A near-inevitable global recession sparked by a lengthening war in Europe’s frozen east; an energy crisis coupled with soaring inflation; Covid-19 finally running rampant in China – predictions for 2023 are grim. Still, there are reasons to be hopeful. That same energy crisis has spurred an unprecedented demand for renewables, which are expected to boom, while in Brazil, a new president has sworn to protect the Amazon. Repressive regimes, meanwhile, will be nervously looking at Iran, where hardline clerics are locked in a struggle with a formidable pro-democracy uprising that threatens to overwhelm them next year.

Guardian correspondents across the globe have provided their take on what to watch out for in 2023:

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Putin invites Xi to Moscow as Russia pursues alliance with China

Analysts say Chinese leader has leverage as Russian counterpart ‘has no one else to turn to’ amid Ukraine war

Vladimir Putin invited his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, on Friday to make a state visit to Russia next spring, as Moscow seeks to deepen its ties with China amid growing international isolation over the war in Ukraine.

Speaking to Xi via a videoconference, Putin said Russia’s ties with China are the “best in history”, expressing his wish to extend military collaboration and inviting Xi to visit Moscow.

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Vladimir Putin expects Xi Jinping to make state visit in spring – video

The Russian president has said he expects his Chinese counterpart to make a state visit to Russia next spring, in what would be a public show of solidarity from Beijing amid Russia's flailing military campaign in Ukraine.

In introductory remarks from a video conference between the two leaders, broadcast on state television on 30 December, Putin said: 'We are expecting you, dear Mr Chairman, dear friend, we are expecting you next spring on a state visit to Moscow.'

Putin said the visit would 'demonstrate to the world the closeness of Russian-Chinese relations'

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Indian leather companies accused of enabling Russia’s war effort

Soldiers’ boots are made from imported Indian leather as country’s trade with Russia soars by 400%

Indian companies have been accused of enabling Russia’s war effort after exporting leather to Russian companies that make boots for its military in the months since the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia and India have longstanding ties and Narendra Modi’s government has not joined western countries in openly criticising Moscow over the war nor stopped Indian companies trading with Russia.

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Indian police investigate Russian politician’s hotel death

Death of Pavel Antov, who reportedly criticised Ukraine war, comes days after his travelling companion died at same hotel

Indian police are investigating the sudden deaths at a luxury hotel of a wealthy Russian politician who reportedly criticised the Ukraine war, and his travelling companion.

The body of Pavel Antov, 65, was found on Saturday in a pool of blood outside his lodgings in eastern Odisha state, where he was on holiday with three other Russian nationals.

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Surge in China’s military operations reflects ‘new normal’ under Xi Jinping

President has made escalations against foreign powers more common amid drive to beef up People’s Liberation Army

A rush of Chinese military activity across the region this month has capped off a year of increased aggression, as President Xi Jinping displays China’s increased military might despite economic struggles and the impact of the zero-Covid policy and its sudden end.

This month the People’s Liberation Army – the Chinese Communist party’s military wing – has broadened its aerial incursions into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (Adiz), come to blows with Indian troops in the Himalayas, run military drills near Japan and participated in major joint exercises with Russia.

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Saudi Arabia readies full state pageantry for Xi Jinping visit

Chinese president’s three-day trip to Riyadh will lead to a ‘strategic agreement’ between the authoritarian powers

Xi Jinping will arrive in Riyadh on Wednesday on a long awaited visit to a regional ally that has readied full state pageantry and a round of agreements likely to cement ties between China and Saudi Arabia – and deepen alarm in Washington.

China’s president will meet more than 30 heads of state and business leaders during his three-day visit to the Saudi capital, which is set to lead to a “strategic agreement” between the authoritarian powers. The trip is the culmination of decades of cooperation once based on oil sales, which has grown into bilateral trade of close to $90bn a year.

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South Korea scrambles jets after Chinese and Russian warplanes enter air defence zone

Chinese bombers repeatedly entered and left zone but did not violate South Korean airspace

South Korea’s military said it scrambled fighter jets as two Chinese and six Russian warplanes entered its air defence zone.

The Chinese H-6 bombers repeatedly entered and left the Korea Air Defence Identification Zone (Kadiz) off South Korea’s southern and north-eastern coasts from about 5.50am local time on Wednesday, Seoul’s joint chiefs of staff (JCS) said.

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Putin’s grip on regional allies loosens again after Armenia snub

Damaging optics of ‘family’ photo at CSTO summit highlights fragility of Russia’s influence in wake of war in Ukraine

Armenia has asked the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to chair peace talks with Azerbaijan in a fresh challenge to Vladimir Putin’s increasingly loose grip on Russia’s regional allies in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

The snub from a traditional ally to Putin, who had hosted an inconsequential meeting of the warring countries’ leaders last month, comes immediately on the back of his disastrous summit with six former Soviet states.

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Three men found guilty of murdering 298 people in MH17 shooting down

Court says Russia had overall control of the separatist forces in eastern Ukraine at the time when the plane was shot down

A Dutch court has found three men guilty of the murder of 298 people on board flight MH17, which was shot down by a Russian surface-to-air missile when it was flying over eastern Ukraine in 2014.

The court handed down sentences of life imprisonment to Russian nationals Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinskiy and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, after finding them guilty of bringing down the plane and the murder of everyone on board. They were also ordered to pay “more than €16m” in compensation to the victims. The three men remain at large and it remains unclear if they will ever serve their sentences.

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‘China can play mediating role’: Macron to visit Xi Jinping over war in Ukraine

French president believes China can help push Russia to de-escalate Ukraine war

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has said he intends to visit Beijing in the new year and believes his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, can play a mediating role that prevents a resumption of large-scale land fighting in Ukraine in February.

Speaking at the close of the G20 in Bali, a summit dominated by the Russian attack on Ukraine and its implications for the world economy, he said he believed China could take a mediating role in the conflict.

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Five key takeaways from the G20 meeting in Bali

From Xi Jinping’s first international appearance in three years to leaders snubbing Russia, here are the significant moments

The G20 meeting in Bali signalled Xi Jinping’s emergence from three years of self-imposed pandemic isolation, with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and Australian prime minister, Anthony Albanese, among those keen to secure a chat and photo opportunity with the Chinese leader.

Despite condemnation of Chinese human rights abuses and anxiety over its intentions in the Taiwan Strait, the largely positive tone set by Xi’s bilateral with US president Joe Biden continued until the end of the summit.

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G20’s dysfunctional family show little sign of working together in a crisis

Communique unlikely to stretch beyond usual platitudes despite the need for a global plan for recovery

The Cambodian prime minister, Hun Sen, was struck down by Covid, the Argentinian prime minister, Alberto Fernández, had gastroenteritis and the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, either did or did not have chest pains that sent him to hospital. Given that Indonesia’s G20 slogan plastered all around Bali says: “Recover Together, Recover Stronger”, it was not an auspicious performance by the world’s leaders.

Unfortunately, there is precious little sign of recovery at the G20, either at a political or economic level.

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