this is bbc news. the headlines: russian president vladimir putin has told his chinese counterpart, xijinping, that he's studied in detail his proposals for ending the war in ukraine. mr putin was speaking at the beginning of president xi's first visit to moscow since the invasion began last year. the united nations has released a major new report on climate change, dubbed a �*survival guide for humanity'. climate experts say there's a �*closing window of opportunity�* to build a sustainable future involving cuts to fossil fuels and maximising the use of clean energy and technology. police in france have fired tear gas at protesters marching against the government's planned pension reform as demonstrations grow across the country.
earlier, emmanuel macron�*s government narrowly survived a vote of no confidence over the plans to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. now on bbc news, it's hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk. i'm stephen sackur. china's president xijinping is in moscow for a state visit with a man now wanted for war crimes. such is the geopolitical fallout from vladimir putin's invasion of ukraine. the fact that the international criminal court has issued an arrest warrant for the russian president won't deter him for his continued assault on ukraine, but it does raise new questions about the long—term consequences for russia.
my guest is russian mp and state tv talk show host evgeny popov. how solid is putin's home front? evgeny popov in moscow, welcome to hardtalk. thank you very much. it's good to have you on the show, mr popov. your president, vladimir putin, is a wanted man. the international criminal court has filed war crimes charges against him. do you recognise the symbolic importance of that?
of course you are going to recognise some symbolic of this tremendously stupid decision by international criminal court, but it means nothing for russia, it means nothing for the russian president and it will not change the way putin makes his decisions of course. first of all, you know, you are going to close all ways to legislate russia by this decision. it is the final step to close any possibility to negotiate with russia. the second topic is the reason for this decision. you know, the arrest
warrant for putin forfailing children, donbas children, thousands of children who were in danger during the war, during the last nine years. and of course russia has to save their lives. and of course russia should and must give them normal life. the normal life is possible for them. and it's possible in russia. well, mr popov, you may or may not be aware that there are more than 16,000 documented cases of ukrainian children being deported, transferred to russia or russian—held territory, occupied territory in ukraine. more than 16,000 documented cases, but many more thousands, which the ukrainians believe have not yet been exposed to the world. now, that contravenes international law and to quote the chief prosecutor of the
international criminal court, those children have been used as the spoils of war. now, you are a human being, leave aside your politics. does it not offend you that your country is responsible for using children as the spoils of war? it is not true, of course. and you know we must save the lives of those children. and they are in families, orphanage, and they are safe right now. they are in a safe territory. mr popov, you know as well as i do that many of these children were taken when they still had family. in some cases, parents, in other cases, grandparents, but they still had family in ukraine, and even if they had no family in ukraine, they could have been released to the ukrainian state.
even now, as the chief prosecutor says, russia has an obligation, if it has these children, to hand them back to ukraine. they are ukrainian children. we don't have any requests from relatives, from parents, of those children. if we will get some requests from relatives, from parents of course, they can see their children. in russia or any other territories. but we did not get any requests from ukrainian parents, from ukrainian side. and, you know, it is a mockery. it is a political mockery of reality. if i may say so, the mockery
here is russia pretending that it is acting in the interests of these children. we know, from a yale university study, that russia has actually set up camps where these children are being "reeducated with pro—russia patriotic "and military related education." we know that your child commissioner, the official in moscow who is the fellow indictee has already said she herself, adopted eight ukrainian child and she said this, "we are helping "the children of our country. "we don't leave them in war zones." of course the problem there is it's not your country. it is the sovereign territory of ukraine. you know, stephen, you are still living
in a world of myths and we can't leave children on a battlefield. of course we can't leave it at the war. we can't leave it in danger. and of course we are going to do everything to give them a new life, peaceable life in russia. but if these relatives or these parents want to see them, want to speak to them, they can do it. but we didn't get any requests. so you are giving me right now, a guarantee — and you speak of course as a russian mp and somebody close to mr putin in his own political party — you are telling me that you guarantee
if the international community, the icc, the ukrainian authorities, whoever, demand the return of these children, russia will hand them over? i did not say that. i told you that, first of all, we don't, as united states and many other countries, recognise icc. but if parents of those children want to see them, want to take him home, want to speak to them, of course they can do it. but, again, we did not get any requests from relatives of those children and from parents of those children. you say that this makes no difference to vladimir putin or to russia — that is not true, is it? it makes a big difference to vladimir putin. there are now 123 countries,
signatories to the treaties that created the international criminal court. which are now obliged to arrest vladimir putin should he step onto their soil. vladimir putin is now the president of russia, he is unable to travel to most countries in the world. most countries in the world will no longer even agree to talk to him or meet him because he is a wanted war criminal. this changes things. of course this changes things. i told you that this decision is stupid. because icc or people who are behind this decision are going to close even a little possibility to talk with russia. because, of course, we should talk to finish this war.
and we now can't do this. but if you are talking about putin's travel possibilities, he is going to join a summit in south africa in august, and nobody is going to arrest him. he is going to travel to countries, which are our neighbours, which are friendly neighbours, and nobody is going to arrest him. because president putin, as every other world leaders, have immunity, immunity to international criminal court or other stupid organisations because... maybe you should have told that to others sitting presidents that ended up before the international criminal court. your ideas about immunity may not last.
tell it to george bush. and you know what, i want to move on from international justice, but one final point on this — the united nations recently received a report from the international commission of inquiry on ukraine, which catalogued a whole series of other alleged abuses and war crimes, including systematic killings, systematic torture, the deportation of children, of course, which we have already discussed, and ijust wonder this — you are very well—connected in moscow. do you think there are people in the kremlin who are now worried when they have seen what the icc have already done that ultimately they will be an accounting for what russia has done over the past year and more, there will be an accounting and many individuals, notjust biden himself, but many individuals inside your system will ultimately be held to account for what russia has done? you were going to change our regime.
of course i know it. i know the west wants to divide my country. wats to change putin into a conveniently wielded politician. but you will lose this war — publicly, economically, militarily and other sides. because of course putin is the president of russia. the most of russian people have elected him. most of russian people voted for him. he is legitimate president of russia. head of my state. and you will deal with him of course, if you want to finish this war. because we have no other president. we have no other head of state. and the world, the western world should
deal with our authority. the person dealing with... hang on. let's, if i may, get to something that is happening in your city right now — president xijinping is in moscow talking to president putin. there is a power imbalance there because xijinping represents a country with an economy ten times the size of russia, and russia desperately needs that friendship without limits that the two of them talked about more than a year ago. what do you think xi jinping is going to deliver foeradimir putin? ah, stephen, first of all, if we are talking about russian economy, i think we already showed you that our economy is not a simple 2%
of world economy. it is strong economy because we are now against 50 states. against all nato states and our economy feels pretty good. our economy is stable, our economy will be stable for many, many years. and we don't have vegetable deficit or some other deficit in russia. we don't have inflation. it's good to know the vegetable supply is fine in moscow but what is not so fine is the weapons and military production capacity and i am just wondering whether you believe china is going to supply you, russia with weapons? i don't know. i don't think we need it. of course china is the most important economy partner right now. and our trade with china
is around $200 billion. and of course we have close relationship with china because we are together against western hegemony. against western tyranny. and we are going to stay close. we will develop our relationship. for sovereign policy. we want to save our way of living and we will do it it with china. you say the one thing we don't need is weapons. that does fly in the face... i don't know. and no evidence. there is plenty of
evidence that the russian military is struggling in terms of its ability to rearm those forces fighting, in the heaviest fighting on the eastern front in ukraine. it's a myth. no one knows the situation. let's analyse if it is a myth. you sit in moscow. the leader of the wagner private military organisation spends, according to his own telegram videos desperately seeking over the last month and pleading with the russian army to provide him with more weapons. he said his fighters are being starved of ammunition and quote, my people are dying in droves. why do you think he is now so furious with the chief of the army and defence minister? i know nothing
about this conflict. i have heard him, of course, but his conflict is solved for now. and mr prigozhin and wagner group got everything that they need for now. and of course they are successful military division and they are fighting bravely in bakhmut and other territories. and they should get everything that they need. we are a big country. and we of course in a huge war with nato and other countries right now. if i may... we last spoke in september you assured me then that russia was winning the war and was going to win the war. here we are in march
of 2023, you have not even yet taken bakhmut. and the losses incurred by the russian military are staggering. tens of thousands of soldiers have either lost their lives or been taken out of action with wounds in that fight for bakhmut over many months. and you still have not taken the city. can you honestly sit here today, so many months after we last spoke and said that many months after we last spoke and say that you are still confident russia is winning this war? iam strongly sure that we are going to win this war, of course. you left us no other chances. we must win because it... why do you think mr prigozhin injust the last couple of days has been extremely pessimistic about the fighting? he has said that the prospects for russia are to use, his word,
foggy and that he is deeply alarmed that russia is not doing what it should be to prepare for a major ukrainian offensive in the spring. prigozhin is worried that your own military defence minister, chief of the army, are not preparing properly for what is to come. of course i understand, stephen, that you are going to divide our society. but you cannot do this. of course we can see some public conflict between wagner and the minister of defence but as i know, i know that the conflict between the minister of defence and the wagner group are solved. and no other problems which we have
between minister of defence and prigozhin. of course we cannot win tomorrow. it is a long—term process. of course, we are going to defend our state for months, years, until we get security guarantees. what you have done is increasingly, wiped out all dissent inside your own country. when i say you, i mean the kremlin. why is the kremlin so frightened of its own people and criticism of the war? we live in a democracy country and people can speak
whatever they want. of course, the most russian people are supporting our military. democracies don't lock up people for writing a social media post against the war and they certainly don't detain 12—year—old girls who are accused at school of drawing a picture which depicts russian soldiers attacking ukrainian civilians. these are things that do happen inside russia today. you understand that we are at war. and of course, no one can wish our military to die. no one can wish our state to divide. no one can wish our power to diffuse or our regime to change. by military, by unlawful hoax or some other things.
and of course in england you arrest much more people for social media posts. much more people. i don't know where you get that idea from but i am interested that you would defend the detention. of a 12—year—old masha, a well documented case. her father was interrogated and beaten and is now in an orphanage and he is now imprisoned for three years on charges. you would defend that as part of healthy society? i don't defend any unlawful moments. i defend my country and my state which is at war with nato countries right now. and of course if we have some strange cases, we will solve it. and we have prosecutors
and a law and our country and we are going to follow law to defend every people who is in a strange situation like that. i don't know anything about the situation, but i will of course, study and she needs help, i will help her as a deputy. and you should understand that in great britain, you, i mean your crown, your prime minister, are arresting much more people for social media posts than in russia. and i have some numbers. 2016...
give me a second. we are out of time. i can't give you any more seconds. 3000 arrested people for social media posts. great britain for 2016. all right. 3000 people. mr popov, you have made that point, sadly we are out of time i think you very much forjoining me on hardtalk. thank you. hello. well, it's been a pretty grey and damp start to the new working week.
many of us have already seen some outbreaks of rain. these are the rather moody skies that we had during the day in argyll and bute. now, so far this month, we've already seen more rainfall than average in a number of places. aldergrove is west of belfast and here we've had about one and a half times as much rain as we see in an average march, but there is more rain on the cards as well. you see, the satellite picture shows the band of rain that we had on monday. but out in the atlantic, we've got several more areas of rain bearing cloud set to move in. and so this week we are going to see rainfall totals really pile up, particularly across western areas. you can see the largest totals over our western hills, whereas in the east you get something of a shelter effect. so the rain won't be quite as heavy for those eastern areas. now, over the next few hours, we do have some fairly heavy bursts of rain to come through and there'll be some low cloud around a bit of mist and fog around our western coast and hills. but it's a mild start to the day tuesday, temperatures nine or ten degrees, rain start the day across eastern england,
probably north—east scotland. that clears away what will follow is a day of bright spells, a bit of sunshine and some heavy showers and thunderstorms. we then see another area of rain move into northern ireland as we go through the course of the afternoon. now it's going to be another mild day, temperatures 1a, 15 degrees celsius. as we go from tuesday into wednesday, actually the isobars pinch together. and so it's going to be a windier day on wednesday. again, overnight rain tending to clear through a day of sunshine and heavy thundery showers. this time, some of the showers could even have some hail mixed in. some of the showers in the west may merge together to give some longer spells of rain. it's going to be blustery gusts of wind, 40, even 50—odd miles an hour in places. but it is still, however, pretty mild with temperatures again reaching around 1a degrees in the mildest spots. for thursday we're looking at more rain as well. still quite a blustery day, the potentialfor some heavier rain to work in perhaps to parts of south—east england during the day. but away from that, the showers could merge together again to give some longer spells of rain at times. temperatures still up
this is bbc news. i'm sally bundock with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. britain's biggest police force, the metropolitan in london, is branded "institutionally racist, misogynist and homophobic" in a scathing new report looking into its failings. rape evidence that had to be discarded because the fridges in police stations didn't work. an officer who had his beard cut by colleagues. a second day of talks between russia's president putin and his guest, xijinping, discussing china's proposals for ending the war in ukraine. police in france fire tear gas at protesters marching against the government's planned pension reform