Russia-Ukraine Crisis News Highlights: At 5 am today, Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv woke up to loud sounds of air raid sirens. On February 24, 2022, the day that was supposed to be the ‘in-principle’ summit between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin to diffuse tension in Europe, Russia launched what it called the ‘special military operations’ across Ukraine border. Coordinated attacks were launched and major Ukrainian cities such as Kharkov, Odessa and Kyiv were targeted. Plumes of smoke were seen in various video clips doing the rounds on the social media. While Moscow claims that it has destroyed the Ukraine’s airbases, the Kyiv authorities claim that it has downed 5 fighter jets belonging to Russia.
PHOTO GALLERY: Living in fear of Russia-Ukraine War
In a televised address, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the special operation to be conducted in East Ukraine. As per an AP report, Putin said the move comes in response to threats coming from Ukraine and that the responsibility for bloodshed lies with the Ukrainian regime. He warned any foreign attempt to interfere with Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen.” Putin accused the US and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demand to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and offer Moscow security guarantees, as per AP.
On the other hand, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Putin to “give peace a chance.” Guterres said that there were indications of imminent action against Ukraine, reported AP. The 15-nation UN Security Council held the emergency meeting on Ukraine late Wednesday night, the second meeting this week and the fourth since January 31 as tension between Russia and Ukraine escalated. India, along with countries, called for an immediate de-escalation of conflict between Russia and Ukraine and cautioned that the situation is in danger of spiraling into a major crisis.
A statement released by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti said, ” We call for immediate de-escalation and refraining from any further action that could contribute to a worsening of the situation. We call on all parties to exert greater efforts to bridge divergent interests. I would like to underline that the legitimate security interests of all parties should be fully taken into account.” The statement further added, ” I underline once again that more than twenty thousand Indian nationals, including students, are located in different parts of Ukraine, including in its border areas. We are facilitating the return of all Indian nationals, including Indian students, as required.” The most dramatic visual was while the US was addressing UNGA, the news of Putin’s attack was conveyed to the member states. There was a silence for the moment.
“We are closely monitoring the rapidly changing situation. Focus is on safety and security of Indian, particularly students. MEA control room is being expanded and made operational on 24X7 basis,” sources said.
The sources further said that the MEA is chairing high-level meetings and contingency plans are being put into operation. Given the airspace closure, alternate evacuation routes are also being activated. “Additional Russian speaking officials have been sent to our Embassy in Ukraine and are being deployed in countries neighbouring Ukraine. Our Embassy in Ukraine is functional and its advisories should be followed carefully,” the sources added.
According to Defence Analyst Col Rajinder Singh (retd), “Russian action in Ukraine and US / West inaction there reminds me of the second world war —- when Neville Chamberlain tried to appease Hitler . President Vladimr Putin and UK Prime Minister Borris Johnson/ US President Joe Biden are re- enacting the same script.
Russian action in Ukraine was expected for some time . Putin had amassed 1.5 lakh troops on the Ukraine border for three months . The USA and West did nothing to counter it , other than merely mouthing empty threats .
As far as Russia is concerned , they are meaningless . Russia is a P-5 member of UNSC and it is fully supported by other P-5 members . China . Therefore UN Resolutions would not have any impact . I am of the view that by the time UNGA passes any effective resolution, Russia would have captured sufficient territory of UKRAINE for tough negotiations with Ukraine . In other words , Donbass and Luhansk regions would become Russian surrogates. This is what will happen .
My fears are that Russian action would not only prove the impotence of the West / USA and UNO but also set the precedent for China to go for Taiwan in near future .”
Also Read: India calls for immediate de-escalation, refraining from further action that worsens Russia-Ukraine crisis
Meanwhile, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, on Wednesday imposed sanctions on the company in charge of building Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. “I’ve directed my admin to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and its corporate officers,” Biden said in a statement, reported ANI. “These steps are another piece of our initial tranche of sanctions in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. As I have made clear, we will not hesitate to take further steps if Russia continues to escalate.,” US President Joe Biden further added in the statement.
As the threat of Russian invasion grew, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered an emotional address to the nation late on Wednesday. “The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace,” Zelensky said, reported AP. “But if we come under attack, if we face an attempt to take away our country, our freedom, our lives and lives of our children, we will defend ourselves. When you attack us, you will see our faces, not our backs,” he further added. Zelenskyy said he tried to call Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, but the Kremlin did not respond.
Here are latest updates on Russia-Ukraine conflict:
A presidential adviser says Ukraine has lost control of Chernobyl nuclear site after a fierce battle, reports AP
Russia gave its first confirmation that its ground forces have moved into Ukraine, saying troops entered from Crimea, reports AP
PM Modi speaks to Russian President Putin, appeals for immediate cessation of violence, says PMO
PM Modi and President Putin agreed that their officials and diplomatic teams would continue to maintain regular contacts on issues of topical interest: PMO
Prime Minister Modi also sensitised the Russian President Putin about India's concerns regarding the safety of the Indian citizens in Ukraine, especially students, and conveyed that India attaches the highest priority to their safe exit and return to India: PMO
PM Modi appealed for an immediate cessation of violence, and called for concerted efforts from all sides to return to the path of diplomatic negotiations and dialogue: Prime Minister's Office
PM Narendra Modi speaks to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Pres Putin briefed PM about the recent developments regarding Ukraine. PM reiterated his long-standing conviction that the differences between Russia & NATO can only be resolved through honest and sincere dialogue: PMO
Russian President Vladimir Putin hosts business summit to discuss sanctions in Moscow (Reuters)
We will take all possible steps to bring back safe and sound all Indian citizens in Ukraine, including students: FS Shringla (PTI)
US official: UN Security Council to vote on resolution condemning Russia's attack on Ukraine despite expected veto, reports AP
What we've heard today are not just missile blasts, fighting & the rumble of aircraft. This is the sound of a new iron curtain, which has come down & is closing Russia off from civilized world. Our national task is to make sure this curtain does not fall across our land: President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Reuters)
Red Cross chief says fears 'massive casualty numbers' in Ukraine, reports AFP
We will handle the evacuation with utmost precaution. Roadways have been mapped out to evacuate Indian nationals from Kyiv and reach safer places: Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla (ANI)
It would be difficult to guess in advance the nature of the conversation between Prime Minister Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The conversations will be around the situation in Ukraine today: Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla (ANI)
We are in touch with the Ministry of Defence to keep provision for airlift (of Indians) capacity, in regard to the situation in Ukraine: Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla (ANI)
Around 4,000 Indian nationals out of 20,000 have already left Ukraine in past few days: Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla (PTI)
External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar is expected to speak to the Ukrainian Foreign Minister today: Foreign Secy Harsh V Shringla (ANI)
Some sanctions have been imposed on Russia by the UK, US, Australia, Japan among others. We have to see what impacts these sanctions will have on our interests. Any sanctions will have an impact on our relationship, I think it would be correct to acknowledge that: Foreign Secy (ANI)
Our Embassy in Ukraine continues to be functional. A number of advisories have been issued by embassies on the situation as it evolves. We're consulting universities, student contractors in the process of providing welfare and safety of our students: Foreign Secy Harsh V Shringla (ANI)
One important step we have taken is to pursue all universities in Ukraine to conduct online classes. PM Modi has specifically stated that the MEA should do everything possible for our citizens in Ukraine: Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla (ANI)
The situation on the ground is difficult and is rapidly evolving: Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla on Ukraine crisis (ANI)
4000 Indian nationals have already left Ukraine in the past few days. The MEA control room in Delhi has got 980 calls and 850 emails: Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla (ANI)
External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar will speak to Foreign ministers of Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary: Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla (ANI)
A number of steps have been taken to deal with the emerging situation in Ukraine. We started the registration of Indian nationals in Ukraine about a month ago. Based on online registration, we found that 20,000 Indian nationals were there: Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla (ANI)
At the CCS meeting, PM Modi has stated that the topmost priority of the government is the safety and security of Indian nationals including students in Ukraine: Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla (ANI)
Government officials on Thursday went into a huddle to access the impact of Russian aggression in Ukraine on the Indian economy and began preparing contingency plans to combat a possible spike in inflation due to a rise in oil prices and the country’s external trade being impacted.
While there are no immediate fears of a supply disruption or trade routes being blocked, oil prices soaring to an over seven-year high of USD 105 per barrel do have a short and medium-term impact on the economy. | READ MORE
Stocks tumbled worldwide Thursday after Russia’s attack of Ukraine sent fear coursing through markets and upped the pressure on the high inflation already hurting people and businesses around the world.
The S&P 500 sank 2% to continue its dismal start of the year. It’s now down almost 14% from the record high it set in early January. European markets sank even more, with the German DAX down 5%. | READ MORE
Russian occupation forces are trying to seize Chornobyl. Our defenders are giving their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated. Reported this to Swedish PM. This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
To assist in the evacuation of Indian nationals from Ukraine, MEA teams are being sent to the land borders with Ukraine in Hungary, Poland, Slovak Republic and Romania, says the Ministry.
PM Modi chairs meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security amid Russia's attack on Ukraine (PTI)
U.S. stock futures are facing the brunt of the equities meltdown along with a global stock market crash. Dow Futures was down by over 800 points while Nasdaq 100 Futures and S&P 500 Futures were lower by 2.48 per cent and 3.05 per cent. With Russia invading Ukraine after Vladimir Putin announcing military operation in Ukraine, the equity prices have taken a toll big time. | READ MORE
President Biden met with his national security team in the Situation Room this morning to discuss the latest developments in Ukraine. He discussed how we will hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine: The White House
Prime Minister Narendra Modi likely to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin tonight: Sources (ANI)
Government of India, Ministry of Civil Aviation has allowed passengers traveling from Ukraine to travel by transit under India-Qatar bilateral air bubble arrangement: Embassy of India in Doha, Qatar (ANI)
President Vladimir Putin of Russia has gone about his offensive plans on Ukraine in a computerised manner. Three months back, he had amassed his 1.5 lakh troops on the three sides of Ukraine border and awaited for world reaction. He saw only empty threats being mouthed but no concrete steps being taken by the USA / EU and UN to stall his impending offensive. | READ MORE
Movement of people is now difficult in Ukraine as it is under martial law and those hearing air sirens and bomb warnings should find nearby bomb shelters, the Indian embassy in Kyiv said in a fresh advisory to Indians there.
“As you are aware, Ukraine is under martial law, which has made movement difficult,” it said. | READ MORE
Team from Embassy of India in Hungary has been despatched to the border post Zohanyi to coordinate and provide assistance to facilitate exit of Indians from Ukraine.
The Russia-Ukraine military conflict will have an implication on the country’s trade as it would affect movement of consignments, payments and oil prices, according to exporters. The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said they have asked exporters to hold their consignments to the region or goods that take the Black Sea route. | READ MORE
Sources said that a a large number of Indian students in Ukraine turned up outside the Indian Embassy in Kyiv on Thursday morning. However, not all could be accommodated inside the Embassy premises. Accordingly, the Embassy organized safe premises nearby and the students were moved there. This process took some time given the ground situation in Kyiv.
Importantly, no Indian national is currently stranded outside the Embassy, the source said and added that as fresh students arrive, they are being moved to the safe premises. The Embassy is continuing to assist Indian nationals, including students, in Ukraine.
Embassy of India in Ukraine in its third advisory asks Indian nationals to head to bomb shelters if they are at places where air sirens/bomb warnings can be heard.
Ukraine military plane with 14 aboard crashes near Kyiv: AFP
Russian troops launched a broad assault on Ukraine from three sides on Thursday, an attack that began with explosions before dawn in the capital Kyiv and other cities.
Ukraine’s leadership said at least 40 people had been killed so far in what it called a “full-scale war” targeting the country from the east, north and south.In a televised address as the attack began, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would “lead to consequences you have never seen in history.” Ukrainians started fleeing some cities, and the Russian military claimed to have incapacitated all of Ukraine’s air defenses and air bases within hours. | READ MORE
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said she will be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the situation arising out of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Markets have been rattled by Russia’s attack on the Eastern European country. | READ MORE
Tokyo Paralympics bronze-medallist Sharad Kumar is tracking developments relating to the Russian military operation in Ukraine as he is worried about the safety of his coach Nikitin Yevhen there. Yevhen is based in Kharkiv, the second largest city of Ukraine and around 500km from capital Kyiv. “Just spoke to my coach in Ukraine Kharkiv, he is worried, he can hear bombing from his room, he is planning to move to his garage underground,” Kumar tweeted. – PTI