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:
We will continue to respond to Russia's action with unity. We are here to ask Russia to stop, return to their border, send troops back to barracks. Bring your diplomats to the negotiation table…Russia literally has violated Ukraine's sovereignty: US Representative (ANI)
#ukrainerussiacrisis | A special flight of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) landed at Delhi Airport from Kyiv, at 7:45am today, with 182 Indian citizens, including students: An official of Ukraine International Airlines in India (ANI)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in an address to the citizens of Russia amid the #ukrainerussiacrisis, said, “Today, I initiated a phone call with the Russian Federation President, which resulted in silence… this step could become the beginning of a big war.” (ANI)
“If Russian leadership doesn't want to sit down for peace, with us, then maybe it'll sit down at a table with you. Do Russians want war? I would very much like to answer this question. But the answer depends only on you, the citizens of the Russian Federation: Ukrainian President (ANI)
Read @ANI Story | https://t.co/ByyNtETbMU
— ANI Digital (@ani_digital) February 24, 2022
Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan on Wednesday said efforts are being made to arrange more flights, as per requirement, for bringing back Indians from Ukraine in view of the escalating political tensions there.
Muraleedharan, speaking to reporters at Kottayam, said the central government was responsible for ensuring safety and welfare of nearly 20,000 Indians, majority of them students, presently in Ukraine and towards that goal the External Affairs Ministry was working with the Civil Aviation Ministry to arrange more flights for those wishing to come back.
He said efforts are being made to arrange more flights in view of the situation that many Indians there do not have the requisite means to return and added that no one was being forced to come back presently.
Meanwhile, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president and MP K Sudhakaran shot off a letter on Wednesday to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar for ensuring more flights out of Ukraine for Indians.
The Congress MP, in his letter, said he was receiving several complaints that there was an acute scarcity of flights out of that country and as a result, air fare charges have soared. This has made it difficult for Indian students, wishing to return, to purchase air tickets, he said.
“I would appreciate it if you could kindly look into the matter and ensure more flights are made available at a capped airfare so that our citizens are able to return to safety,” Sudhakaran said in his letter. (PTI)
Ukraine has never threatened or attacked anyone. Ukraine has never planned and does not plan any military offensive in the Donbas. Neither any provocations nor acts of sabotage. It is ultimately absurd to suggest that Ukraine could have prepared for anything like this and waited for months until Russia amassed an enormous military force along our borders to proceed with such plans. We need to use this last chance to stop Russia, where it is. It is clear that President Putin will not stop by himself. The beginning of a large scale war in Ukraine will be the end of the world order as we know: Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (ANI)
Russian President Vladimir Putin can do a lot more damage in Ukraine and the United States is prepared to respond by withholding technology and resources if he does, deputy U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said on Wednesday.
Such measures were not announced on Tuesday as part of a round of sanctions unveiled by President Joe Biden to punish Putin for recognizing two breakaway regions of Ukraine as independent and deploying troops into the regions to “keep the peace.”
“President Putin clearly has the ability to do much more than he has done so far,” Adeyemo said in an interview with CNBC.
In response, the Biden administration could deprive Russia of a vast swath of low- and high-tech U.S. and foreign-made goods, from commercial electronics and computers to semiconductors and aircraft parts, people familiar with the matter have told Reuters.
“The key thing that President Putin needs to consider is whether he wants to ensure that Russia's economy is able to grow, that he has the resources he needs to be able to project power in the future. If he chooses to invade, what we're telling him very directly, is that we're going to cut that off.
“We're going to cut him off from Western technology that's critical to advancing his military, cut him off from Western financial resources that will be critical for feeding his economy and also to enriching himself,” Adeyemo said. (Reuters)
“We've no intention of fighting Russia. We want to send an unmistakable message though, that US, together with our allies will defend every inch of NATO territory. We believe Russia is poised to go much further in launching a massive military attack against Ukraine,” US President Joe Biden (ANI)
Ukraine views the presence of Russian warships near its borders in the Black Sea as a threat and will ask Turkey to consider shutting two waterways to Russian vessels if Moscow invades, Ukrainian Ambassador to Turkey Vasyl Bodnar said on Wednesday.
Russian's recognition of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine this week has prompted a swift backlash and sanctions from Western powers. Turkey, which borders both Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea, is against sanctions in principle, but has called Russia's move unacceptable.
Earlier this month, six Russian warships and a submarine transited the Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits to the Black Sea for what Moscow called naval drills near Ukraine waters.
Asked about the presence of Russian warships near Ukrainian borders, Bodnar told Reuters in an interview that the vessels posed “a great danger” for Kyiv, adding the Russian naval concentration in the Black Sea was “overwhelming”.
“We believe that, in case of a wide military invasion or the starting of military activities against Ukraine – when the war becomes not only de facto but de jure – we will ask the Turkish government to consider the possibility of closing the Black Sea straits for the aggressor state,” he said.
Under the 1936 Montreux Convention, NATO member Turkey has control over the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits, linking the Mediterranean and Black seas. The pact gives Ankara the power to regulate the transit of naval warships and to close the straits to foreign warships during wartime and when it is threatened.
“We have proposed a number of initiatives, starting from methods of consultation between our sides, up until creating a common mechanism of reaction to the threats to security in our region,” Bodnar said, adding Ukraine still believed a diplomatic solution was possible,
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was cited as saying on Wednesday that Turkey, which has good ties with both Ukraine and Russia, could not abandon its ties with either country and that it would take steps to ensure relations remain intact.
While building close cooperation with Russia on defence and energy, Ankara has also sold sophisticated drones to Ukraine and signed a deal to co-produce more, angering Moscow.
Turkey opposes Russian policies in Syria and Libya, its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its 2008 recognition of two Georgian regions. (Reuters)
Ukraine wants security guarantees from Russia as a step towards ending the standoff between the two countries, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday in a briefing with his Polish and Lithuanian counterparts.
“I believe that Russia should be among those countries that provide clear security guarantees. I have many times suggested that the President of Russia sit down at the negotiating table and speak,” he said.
One of Europe's worst security crises in decades was unfolding after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised two areas of eastern Ukraine as independent and ordered troops to be deployed to eastern Ukraine. (Reuters)
Poland condemns Russia's decision to recognise two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine and sees its actions as a threat to the whole region and the European Union, Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Wednesday.
“Russia's actions are of great concern to us. We take them very seriously,” Duda said during a news conference after signing a joint declaration with the Ukrainian and Lithuanian presidents in Kyiv.
“We believe that they pose a threat not only to Ukraine but to our entire region, to NATO's eastern flank and the EU as a whole.” (Reuters)
Russia's foreign ministry on Wednesday said it would respond strongly to new U.S. sanctions in a way that would be sensitive and weighted towards Washington, saying the measures imposed against Moscow ran counter to American interests.
The United States and its allies sought to step up sanctions pressure on Russia on Wednesday over the deployment of troops in separatist regions of eastern Ukraine, in one of the worst security crises in Europe in decades. (Reuters)
Russia's state Tass news agency reported on Wednesday that Russia has started evacuating personnel from all of its diplomatic facilities in Ukraine.
Moscow has an embassy in Kyiv and consulates in Kharkiv, Odesa and Lviv.
The Tass report said the embassy in Kyiv confirmed the evacuations have begun. An Associated Press photographer in Kyiv saw the flag was no longer flying over the embassy building in Kyiv. (AP)
Ukraine's parliament on Wednesday approved imposing sanctions on 351 Russians, including lawmakers who supported the recognition of the independence of separatist-controlled territories and the use of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine.The sanctions restrict almost all possible types of activities, in particular a ban on entry into Ukraine, prohibit access to assets, capital, property, licenses for business. The security council was due to impose the sanctions after the vote.One of Europe's worst security crises in decades was unfolding after Russia recognised two areas of eastern Ukraine as independent. Ukraine accused Russia of wrecking peace talks on ending an eight-year-old conflict in the region. – Reuters
The UK government on Wednesday warned that it stands ready to escalate sanctions on Russia in the event of an invasion of Ukraine and can “keep turning up the heat” by targeting more banks, wealthy individuals and key companies if President Vladimir Putin refuses to pull back troops from eastern Ukraine. – PTI
Global oil and liquified natural gas (LNG) prices are likely to see a sharp rise in the event of a Russia-Ukraine conflict, which would have negative implications for net energy importers, Moody's Investors Service said on Wednesday. Moody's Investors Service Managing Director Michael Taylor said trade effects are likely to arise from import diversion and diversification, although there may be opportunities for commodities producers in Central Asia to increase supply to China. Supply chain bottlenecks will also be aggravated, adding to inflation pressures in the region. – PTI
Europe braced for further confrontation Wednesday and Ukraine urged its citizens to leave Russia after tensions escalated dramatically when Russia's leader got the OK to use military force outside his country and the West responded with a raft of sanctions. Hopes for a diplomatic way out of a new devastating war appeared all but sunk as the U.S. and key European allies accused Moscow on Tuesday of crossing a red line in rolling over Ukraine's border into separatist regions with several calling it an invasion. AP
Pope Francis is urging all sides in the Russia-Ukraine dispute to examine their consciences before God and pull back from threats of war. In an appeal at the end of his weekly general audience Wednesday, Francis said he was pained and alarmed by developments in Ukraine, which he said ‘discredit international law.’ AP
Greece has made plans to receive additional natural gas to avert a disruption of supply amid heightened tensions in Ukraine, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.Western nations on Tuesday punished Russia with new sanctions for ordering troops into regions of eastern Ukraine and threatened to go further if Moscow launched an all-out invasion.In perhaps the most significant measure announced on Tuesday, Germany halted certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline owned by Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom , a move likely to raise gas prices in Europe. Reuters
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba took to Twitter to sent out a message to the world as the crisis worsens. He has demanded the global powers to 'step up' in terms of economic sanctions. Lauding the Tuesday actions, Kuleba said that Ukraine is 'grateful' to its partners. But more action is needed to 'stop Putin.'
To stop Putin from further aggression, we call on partners to impose more sanctions on Russia now. First decisive steps were taken yesterday, and we are grateful for them. Now the pressure needs to step up to stop Putin. Hit his economy and cronies. Hit more. Hit hard. Hit now.— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) February 23, 2022
The Russian rouble steadied near 79 to the dollar on Wednesday, clinging on to recovered gains made the previous day as investors took stock of Western sanctions imposed on Russia for ordering troops into separatist regions of eastern Ukraine. Reuters
Amid series of sanctions by Western nations, Russia remains defiant. In a new video message that was released to mark the 'Defender of the Fatherland Day', Russian President Vladimir Putin says that his country was 'ready for an honest dialogue'. He also added that Russia's security interests were 'non-negotiable'
Britain will stop Russia selling sovereign debt in London after President Vladimir Putin deployed military forces into two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Wednesday.Truss said that if Putin went further and ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine then sanctions would be escalated.Britain on Tuesday imposed sanctions on Gennady Timchenko and two other billionaires with close links to Putin.British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Russia was heading towards “pariah status” and that the world must now brace for the next stage of Putin's plan, saying that the Kremlin was laying the ground for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Reuters
In a fresh sign of escalation, the Ukraine Army says that one of its soldier died and six other were injured in fresh shelling by pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine in the last 24 hours. This also shows that the ceasefire violations remain at a high level, Reuters reports. In a Facebook post, the Ukrainian military said that as many as 96 incidents of shelling by separatists have been registered in the past 24 hours compared. This is higher than 84 incidents a day earlier. Separatist forces are using heavy artillery, mortars and Grad rocket systems, Kyiv says.
Diplomacy is off table, it seems. The White House has announced that US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin won't be meeting for the 'in-principle' summit. The White House says that such a meeting is not an option right now.
Asian stock markets rebounded Wednesday after Wall Street slid on anxiety over President Vladimir Putin's authorisation to send Russian soldiers into eastern Ukraine. Shanghai, Hong Kong, South Korea and Australia advanced. Oil prices edged higher on concern about possible disruption to Russian supplies. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday. AP
So far, the Western powers have relied on diplomacy and sanctions. But what is the Russia's action turn into an all-out invasion? Latest reports suggest that the US will be bolstering the nations such as Latvia and Estonia. 800 US troops will be send to these nations. Apart from this, the US is also likely to move the F-35s and Apaches to the Baltic region.
Canada has joined other Western forces in making its stand clear on the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence, Canada, posted pics of the 'lethal aid' that is being sent to Ukraine. She said that the Russian action is 'completely unacceptable'
Today, our @CanadianForces made a second delivery of lethal military aid to support our Ukrainian partners. Russia’s further invasion of a sovereign state is absolutely unacceptable, and we will continue to stand by Ukraine as the country defends its sovereignty and independence. pic.twitter.com/lYZRIu8JOE— Anita Anand (@AnitaAnandMP) February 23, 2022
The United Nations chief says the world is facing “the biggest global peace and security crisis in recent years” and is calling Russia's declaration of the “so-called `independence'” of separatist areas in eastern Ukraine a violation of its territorial integrity and accusing Moscow of “the perversion of the concept of peacekeeping.” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters Tuesday he is proud of the achievements of the UN's far-flung peacekeepers, but when troops of one country enter the territory of another country without its consent, as Russian forces have done, “they are not impartial peacekeepers — they are not peacekeepers at all” as Moscow has called them. (AP)
President Vladimir Putin has shifted the Ukraine crisis into a new, more dangerous phase with a barrage of words and actions that suggest his ultimate aims go far deeper than extending Russian sway over two struggling separatist regions. Putin signed friendship treaties on Monday night with the so-called Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics proclaimed by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, in a move denounced as illegal by the West and met with immediate sanctions, including on Russian banks and a major new gas pipeline. (Reuters)
Western nations on Tuesday punished Russia with new sanctions for ordering troops into separatist regions of eastern Ukraine and threatened to go further if Moscow launched an all-out invasion of its neighbour. The United States, the European Union and Britain announced plans to target banks and elites while Germany halted a major gas pipeline project from Russia, which they say has amassed more than 150,000 troops near Ukraine's borders. Moscow has denied planning an invasion. (Reuters)
Taiwan's security and armed forces must increase their surveillance and alertness on military activities in the region, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Wednesday during a meeting to discuss the Ukraine crisis. Taiwan and Ukraine are fundamentally different in terms of geostrategic, geographical environment and importance of international supply chains, but government units must tackle possible “cognitive warfare” and misinformation by foreign forces, Tsai's office cited her as saying. (Reuters)
Australia on Wednesday joined the United States, the European Union, Canada, Germany and Britain to impose sanctions on Russia after Moscow ordered troops into separatist regions in Ukraine and recognised them as independent entities. Australia will immediately begin placing sanctions on Russian individuals it believes were responsible over the country's actions against Ukraine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said during a media briefing. (Reuters)
The East-West faceoff over Ukraine escalated dramatically Tuesday, with Russian lawmakers authorising President Vladimir Putin to use military force outside his country and US President Joe Biden and European leaders responding by slapping sanctions on Russian oligarchs and banks. Both leaders signaled that an even bigger confrontation could lie ahead. Putin has yet to unleash the force of the 150,000 troops massed on three sides of Ukraine, while Biden held back on even tougher sanctions that could cause economic turmoil for Russia but said they would go ahead if there is further aggression. (AP)
— ANI (@ANI) February 22, 2022
— ANI (@ANI) February 22, 2022
Indian-American economic advisor Daleep Singh is leading the efforts of the Biden administration to impose punitive sanctions on Russia over its actions against Ukraine. Singh, who is Deputy National Security Advisor for international economics and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, made his second appearance in the White House Press Room in a matter of days. “Russia's long previewed invasion of Ukraine has begun and so too has our response. Today, the president (Joe Biden) responded swiftly and in lockstep with allies and partners. The speed and coordination were historic… It took weeks and months to mount a decisive response,” Singh told reporters in his opening remarks. (PTI)