Amidst the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, deaths of civilians and targeting of infrastructure, India has expressed its concern.
Responding to media queries related to the escalation of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, the official spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Arindam Bagchi, “We reiterate that escalation of hostilities is in no one’s interest. We urge immediate cessation of hostilities and the urgent return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue. India stands ready to support all such efforts aimed at de-escalation.”
Since the beginning of the conflict, “India has been maintaining that the global order is anchored in the principles of international law, the UN Charter, and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states,” the spokesperson of MEA added.
Reports in the public domain stated that the conflict has escalated and later in the day Russian President Vladimir Putin in an address confirmed that strikes have been carried out in Ukraine.
Early Monday morning cruise missiles have been fired by the Russian forces at cities across Ukraine. These missile attacks consistent with reports have knocked out heat and power and killed people. President Putin has declared this to be revenge for attacks including on a bridge to Crimea by the Ukrainian forces. Moscow had launched long-range missile attacks against Ukraine’s energy, military and communications infrastructure.
In a televised address the Russian President said that Ukraine had carried out “terrorist acts” against Russia. And if they continued he pledged to react forcefully. “It is clear that the Ukrainian secret services ordered, organised and carried out the terrorist attack aimed at destroying Russia’s critical civilian infrastructure,” he has been quoted saying.
Where have explosions been reported?
They have been reported in Zaporizhzhya in the south and Kharkiv in the east, Zhytomyr, Lviv, Ternopil located in western Ukraine; Dnipro and Kremenchuk in central Ukraine.
In a televised address, the Russian leader said “The Kyiv regime, with its actions, has put itself on the same level as international terrorist organisations. With the most odious groups. To leave such acts without a response is simply impossible.”
What led to escalation?
On Saturday an explosion damaged the only bridge over the Kerch Strait which links Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014, to Russia proper. Though Ukraine did not claim responsibility, it did celebrate the burning down of the bridge.
According to reports, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy termed the strikes as deliberate which were timed to kill people and to knock out the country’s power grid. And his country’s prime minister has said that 11 major infrastructure targets were hit in eight regions and this left the country without power, heat or water.
Reportedly, Ukraine’s defence ministry claims that 81 cruise missiles were fired by Russia and Ukraine’s air defences had shot down 43 of them.
While the European Union condemned Monday’s “barbaric and cowardly attacks” on Ukraine, Putin’s closest ally, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, has according to reports ordered troops to deploy jointly with Russian forces near Ukraine.
Expert view from US based Think Tank
“As a means of trying to consolidate Russia’s hold over the eastern regions of Ukraine his forces occupy, President Vladimir Putin is playing his ace card by threatening the use of nuclear attacks as a reprisal against attacks on Russia’s new “sovereign territories”,” US based Daniel Darling, Senior Military Markets Analyst, Europe & Asia/Pacific Rim, Forecast International Inc, tells Financial Express Online.
According to Daniel Darling, “It’s a sign of weakness, not strength, but he’s also betting government leaders aren’t willing to call his bluff. And he is also betting it dissuades NATO from fast-tracking Ukrainian membership into the Alliance, which is extremely unlikely to happen anyway.”
In his opinion it is a dangerous card to play, but at this point in his flagging invasion of Ukraine it’s what he has left to threaten with.