Seven civilians were reported killed by Ukrainian artillery strikes in Russian-controlled areas.

Iran PressEurope: A top Russian official said there was no chance of peace talks this year as French President Emmanuel Macron urged Chinese leader Xi Jinping to persuade Russia to negotiate an end to Europe's bloodiest conflict since World War Two.

Following talks in Beijing on Thursday with Macron and European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen, Xi said he hoped Russia and Ukraine could hold negotiations as soon as possible and warned all countries against using nuclear weapons.

He did not express a willingness to speak to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, although Von der Leyen said Xi had told her a conversation could happen when the "conditions and time are right".

China and Russia have declared a "no limits" partnership and Xi has sought to position China as a mediator in the Ukraine conflict. China has released a 12-point peace plan but the proposal has been largely dismissed by the West as China has declined to condemn Russia for invading its sovereign neighbour.

There are no talks going on aimed at ending the war, and Dmitry Suslov, an adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, was quoted in Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper on Thursday as saying there was "zero" chance of talks happening in 2023.

Putin says Russia's "special military operation" was necessary to eliminate Ukrainian Nazis and defend Russia from a hostile West. 

The war has cost thousands of lives, wrecked cities, driven millions from their homes and destabilised the global economy.

Four civilians were killed on Thursday in the Russia-controlled Donetsk region when shells hit a car park, Russia's Tass news agency said. Three people died in blasts at a bus stop in Lysychansk, northeast of Donetsk, RIA news agency reported.


Read More:

Fire extinguished at building of Russian defense ministry in Moscow

Number of casualties in St. Petersburg blast climbs to 32