Ukrainian forces fought off Russian troops in the capital Kyiv on Friday on the second day of a conflict that has claimed dozens of lives, as Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the Ukrainian army to remove the country’s leadership. “It seems like it will be easier for us to agree with you than this gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis,” he said, referring to leadership in Kyiv led by President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is Jewish. As Russian troops started entering Kyiv, Mr. Zelensky accused Moscow of targeting civilians and called for more international sanctions.
World leaders reacted swiftly to the latest developments with European Union reportedly agreeing to freeze European assets linked to Mr. Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Earlier, U.S. President Joe Biden announced additional sanctions against Russian banks, major state-owned enterprises and Russian elites.
The conflict began escalating on February 21, 2022 after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and deployed troops in a peacekeeping role.
Here are the latest updates:
India, China abstain on UNSC resolution on Ukraine
India and China abstained from voting on a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution on Ukraine. Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council and also its president for this month, is vetoed the resolution. The resolution resolution voted as: 1 (Y)-3 (A)-1 (N).
Abstentions — UAE, India, China
Veto - Russia
Counties voted in favour of the resoluton:
USA, UK, France, Ghana, Kenya, Gabon, Ireland, Albani, Norway, Mexico and Brazil
Tirumurti, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN,said that India is "deeply disturbed" by situation in Ukraine and "deeply concerned" about welfare of Indian citizens and students there. "It is highly regrettable that path of diplomacy was abandoned, and we must return to it", Mr. Tirumurti said.
India's statement issued by Mr. Tirumurti said: "We urge that all efforts are made for the immediate cessation of violence and hostilities. No solution can ever be arrived at the cost of human lives.
"We are also deeply concerned about the welfare and security of the Indian community, including a large number of Indian students, in Ukraine.
"The contemporary global order has been built on the UN Charter, international law, and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states. All member states need to honour these principles in finding a constructive way forward. Dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and disputes, however daunting that may appear at this moment. For all these reasons, India has chosen to abstain on this Resolution,", the statement said.
UK bans Russian private jets from its airspace
British transport minister Grant Shapps said in a tweet on Friday that no Russian private jet can fly in UK airspace or touch down, effective immediately.
“Putin’s actions are unlawful and anyone benefitting from Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is not welcome here. I’ve strengthened our ban in the UK so that no Russian private jet can fly in UK airspace, or touchdown – effective immediately,” Shapps tweeted.
Shapps’ move comes after Russia banned British airlines from landing at its airports or crossing its airspace, following London’s ban on the flights of Russian flag carrier Aeroflot imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Poland and Czech Republic also said they were banning Russian airlines from their airspace, while airlines, including IAG owned British Airways and Virgin Atlantic began routing flights around Russian airspace. — Reuters
Air India starts evacuation flights to countries bordering Ukraine
Air India will start evacuation flights to countries bordering Ukraine from Saturday even as the government has requested other airlines to join the "operation" to bring back Indians trying to flee the war-torn country.
Air India will operate a flight each to Bucharest and Budapest as special government charter flights, the airline tweeted late on Friday evening. — Jagriti Chandra
Pope visits Russian embassy, expresses ‘concern’
Pope Francis went to the Russian Embassy on Friday to personally “express his concern about the war” in Ukraine, in an extraordinary, hands-on papal gesture that has no recent precedent.
Francis later assured a top Ukrainian Greek Catholic leader he would do “everything I can” to help. Usually, popes receive ambassadors and heads of state in the Vatican, and diplomatic protocol would have called for the Vatican foreign minister to summon the Russian ambassador.
Francis is the Vatican head of state, and for him to leave the walled city state and travel a short distance to the Russian Embassy to the Holy See was a sign of his anger at Moscow’s invasion and his willingness to appeal personally for an end to it.
Vatican officials said they knew of no such previous papal initiative.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni confirmed the visit, and the Vatican said Francis traveled to and from the embassy in a small white car. “The Holy See press office confirms that the pope went to the Russian Embassy to the Holy See on Via della Conciliazione, clearly to express his concern about the war. He was there for just over a half-hour,” Bruni said. — AP
India hesitant to support U.S.-backed UNSC resolution on Ukraine
India has not committed to supporting a U.S.-backed United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution calling for Russia to withdraw from Ukraine. The resolution is scheduled to be discussed at 3 p.m. on Friday, New York Time. Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council and also its president for this month, is certain to veto the resolution. India has abstained during UN votes on Russia and Ukraine in the recent past, as it attempts to balance its interests with both Moscow and the West, led by Washington.
All parties must exercise maximum restraint: Sri Lanka
The Government of Sri Lanka said it is “deeply concerned” about the recent escalation of violence in Ukraine.
In a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday, Sri Lanka called upon “all parties concerned” to exercise maximum restraint and work towards “the immediate cessation of hostilities, to maintain peace, security and stability in the region.” Further, Sri Lanka emphasised the need for “concerted efforts by all parties concerned” to resolve the crisis through “diplomacy and sincere dialogue. — Meera Srinivasan
Ukrainian Health Minister accuses Russian troops of firing on ambulances
kraine’s health minister accused Russian troops on Friday of firing on ambulances in the Zaporizhzhya and Chernihiv regions. Viktor Lyashko told Ukrainian TV Russian forces also opened fire, in a psychiatric hospital in Chernihiv.—Reuters
Ukrainians flee war, seeking safety across western borders
Thousands of Ukrainians are fleeing war at home by crossing the borders into countries to the west in search of safety as Russia pounded their capital and other cities with airstrikes for a second day. Cars were backed up for several kilometers (miles) at some border crossings as authorities in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova mobilized to receive them, offering them shelter, food and legal help. They also eased their usual border procedures, among them COVID-19 testing requirements. —AP
Putin asks Ukrainian military to turn on Kyiv’s leadership
Russian President Vladimir Putin has hailed his troops for their courage as they press their offensive across Ukraine and bear down on Kyiv. Speaking during Friday’s meeting of his Security Council, Mr. Putin claimed that most Ukrainian military units are reluctant to engage to the Russian forces. He said the units offering resistance are mostly volunteer battalions made up of right-wing Ukrainian nationalists.
He offered no evidence for his claims, which could not be independently verified. Echoing an earlier Russian military statement, Mr. Putin accused Ukrainian forces of deploying heavy weapons in urban areas in several big cities, including Kyiv and Kharkiv, to use civilians as shields. The Russian president urged the Ukrainian military to end their resistance and turn on their leaders.—AP
IOC urges all federations to cancel events in Russia or Belarus
“The IOC EB (executive board) today urges all international sports federations to relocate or cancel their sports events currently planned in Russia or Belarus,” read the The International Olympic Committee statement. “They should take the breach of the Olympic Truce by the Russian and Belarussian governments into account and give the safety and security of the athletes absolute priority.”—AFP
U.K and North European allies say sanctions needed on ‘Putin’s inner circle’
Britain and nine other northern European defence allies agreed in a call Friday that further sanctions were needed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said. The U.K. leader told the so-called Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) bloc - which includes Baltic and Scandinavian states - that the crisis “was a defining moment in European history”. “The leaders agreed that more sanctions were needed, including focusing on (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin’s inner circle, building on the measures that had already been agreed,” his Downing Street office said following the call.—AFP
Belarus people deserve better than to be ‘vassals’ of Russia: France
Belarus must not be allowed to become a vassal state of Russia, France said on Friday, after autocratic leader Alexander Lukashenko allowed Russian troops to use its territory for an invasion of Ukraine. “Belarus and its people deserve better than to become the accomplices and vassals of a brutal regime that has chosen to wage war,” said Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, warning that Lukashenko’s role in the invasion marked another step in his “submission” to Russia.—AFP
Pak FM Qureshi justifies PM Khan’s Russia visit amid Ukraine crisis; says it was bilateral and planned ahead of conflict
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday justified Prime Minister Imran Khan’s maiden visit to Russia amidst Moscow’s military operation in eastern Ukraine, saying it was a bilateral visit planned well ahead of the start of the conflict.
“We held consultations before the visit and looked at its pros and cons, and decided to go ahead as it was a bilateral visit. We had clarity about it,” Mr. Qureshi, who was also part of the delegation accompanying Prime Minister Khan to Moscow, said. He rejected the impression that the visit was not well-timed given the situation in Ukraine and stressed that it was the right decision, which has increased the diplomatic space of Pakistan.—PTI
Ukraine says its military is being targeted by Belarusian hackers
Ukrainian cybersecurity officials say hackers from neighboring Belarus are targeting the private email addresses of Ukrainian military personnel “and related individuals”.—Reuters
EAM Jaishankar receives phone call from Ukrainian Foreign Minister
EAM S. Jaishankar said he emphasised on the phone call with Dmytro Kuleba that India supports diplomacy and dialogue as the “way out”. “Received call from Ukrainian FM @DmytroKuleba. He shared his assessment of the current situation.I emphasised that India supports diplomacy & dialogue as the way out,” Mr. Jaishankar tweeted. “Discussed predicament of Indian nationals, including students. Appreciate his support for their safe return,” he added.—PTI
EU agrees to freeze Putin, Lavrov assets over Ukraine
The EU has agreed to freeze European assets linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, three EU officials and a European diplomat told AFP on Friday. The measures were added on Friday after being raised in overnight discussions by EU leaders on a new sanctions package that EU Foreign Ministers from the 27-nation bloc were to validate. —AFP
Ukraine soldiers battle Russian troops in capital
Ukrainian forces fought off Russian troops in the streets of the capital Kyiv on Friday as President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Moscow of targeting civilians and called for more international sanctions. Pre-dawn blasts in Kyiv set off a second day of violence after Russian President Vladimir Putin defied Western warnings to unleash a full-scale invasion on Thursday that quickly claimed dozens of lives and displaced at least 100,000 people.—AFP
Kremlin says Putin ready to send delegation to Minsk for Ukraine talks
The Kremlin on Friday said President Vladimir Putin is ready to send a delegation to Belarus’s capital Minsk for talks with Ukraine, as Russian forces approach Kyiv on the second day of Moscow’s invasion. Mr. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian leader was “ready” to send a high-level delegation “for talks with a Ukrainian delegation” to Minsk, the host city for previous peace talks and agreements.—AFP
Ukraine calls on hacker underground to defend against Russia
The government of Ukraine is asking for volunteers from the country’s hacker underground to help protect critical infrastructure and conduct cyber spying missions against Russian troops, according two people involved in the project.
F1 won’t race in Russia this year after Ukraine invasion
“We are watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation,” F1 said in a statement. “Formula 1, the FIA, and the teams discussed the position of our sport, and the conclusion is, including the view of all relevant stakeholders, that it is impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances.”—AP
Fierce street battle as first Russian troops hit Kyiv
An advance party of Russia’s invasion force left a trail of damage in its wake as clashes erupted inside Ukraine’s capital Kyiv for the first time, amid rising fears the city is about to be stormed or come under siege. .—AFP
Russia says it captures aerodrome northwest of Kyiv
Russia’s defence ministry said on Friday its forces had captured the strategic Hostomel aerodrome outside the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and landed paratroopers in the area.
It said the Russian military had blocked access to Kyiv from the west, and separatist forces in eastern Ukraine had attacked Ukrainian army positions with Russian army support. Ukraine said its capital and other parts of the country were hit by Russian missiles in the early hours of Friday. —Reuters
Air India planning to operate two flights to Bucharest to evacuate Indians stranded in Ukraine
Air India is planning to operate two flights to Romanian capital Bucharest on Friday to evacuate Indians stranded in Ukraine due to a Russian military offensive, senior government officials said.
Stranded Indian nationals who have reached the Ukraine-Romania border by road will be taken to Bucharest by officials of the Indian government so that they can be evacuated in the two Air India flights, they added.
EU warns Russia of more possible sanctions over Ukraine invasion
The European Commission on Friday warned Moscow that the European Union could impose more sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, a day after EU leaders agreed on a robust package of measures.
"When it comes to the sequencing of packages we have always said we have a massive package prepared and we will be applying this package in a progressive way, responding to concrete actions by Russia, and we are not at the end," Commission spokesman Peter Stano told a daily news conference.
China's Xi speaks to Putin, calls for 'negotiation' with Ukraine: state media
China's President Xi Jinping said he supported solving the Ukraine crisis through talks in a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, state media said Friday, after Moscow launched an invasion of its neighbour.
In a readout of the call on state broadcaster CCTV, Xi pointed out that the "situation in eastern Ukraine has undergone rapid changes... (and) China supports Russia and Ukraine to resolve the issue through negotiation".—AFP
Ukrainian president accuses Europe of insufficient reaction
President Vlodymyr Zelensky has accused europe of insufficient reaction while Russian tanks continue to attack people. —Reuters
Russia says ready for talks if Ukraine 'lays down arms'
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Moscow was ready for talks if Ukraine's military surrendered, as he insisted that invading forces were looking to free the country from "oppression". —AFP
Zelensky tells EU more sanctions needed to 'increase' pressure on Russia
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday urged the EU to impose tougher sanctions on Russia over its invasion, after the bloc held off hitting Moscow with the full arsenal of punitive measures.
"Not all possibilities for sanctions have been exhausted yet. The pressure on Russia must increase," Zelensky tweeted after talking to EU chief Ursula von der Leyen. —AFP
Russia denies carrying out missile strikes on Kyiv
Russia denied carrying out missile strikes on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Friday, Russian news agencies cited a defence ministry source as saying, after Ukraine accused Moscow of attacking residential areas.
The same source told Russian media that the aircraft downed over Kyiv on Friday morning was a Ukrainian fighter jet hit by friendly fire. —Reuters
Russia stripped of hosting UEFA Champions League final
Russia was stripped of hosting the Champions League final by UEFA on Friday with St. Petersburg replaced by Paris after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The men's final will still be held on May 28 but now at the 80,000-seat Stade de France after the decision by UEFA's executive committee.
The meeting also decided that Russian and Ukrainian clubs and national teams in UEFA competitions will have to play at neutral venues until further notice.
Russia building up more troops in Belarus to assault Kyiv, says Ukraine
Ukraine's chiefs of staff said on Friday Russia was using the Gomel airfield in Belarus to line up troops to assault Kyiv due to damage to the Hostomel military airport near the Ukrainian capital.
"In order to intimidate the population of Ukraine, the enemy is increasingly choosing to destroy civilian infrastructure and housing," the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a Facebook statement.
Union government is organising evacuation flights for Indians in Ukraine. Cost will be completely borne by Govt. of India for this evacuation, sources in the ministry told The Hindu.
Ukrainian military says Russian 'spies,' 'saboteurs' seen 3 miles from Kyiv as invasion presses toward Ukrainian capital, reports AP.
Reuters quoting RIA says gunfire are reported from Kyiv’s government headquarters.
Russia bans UK flights over its airspace after sanctions
Russia’s civil aviation authority has banned U.K. flights to and over Russia in retaliation to the British ban on Aeroflot flights.
Rosaviatsiya said that all flights by the U.K. carriers to Russia as well as transit flights are banned starting Friday.
It said the measure was taken in response to the “unfriendly decisions” by the British authorities who banned flights to the U.K. by the Russian flag carrier Aeroflot as part of sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. - AP
Ukraine nuclear agency reports higher Chernobyl radiation levels due to heavy military equipment
Ukraine's nuclear agency said on Friday it was recording increased radiation levels from the site of the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
Experts at the agency did not provide exact radiation levels but said the change was due to the movement of heavy military equipment in the area lifting radioactive dust into the air. - Reuters
Johnson pledges further UK support in call with Ukraine’s Zelensky
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday pledged “further UK support to Ukraine” in a phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky, his office said.
“President Zelensky updated the prime minister on the most recent Russian military advances... including the terrible developments in Kyiv,” Downing Street said in a statement.
“The prime minister committed to provide further UK support to Ukraine in the coming days.”
Britain has said is ready to provide Ukraine with additional military support, including lethal defensive weapons but Defence Secretary Ben Wallace ruled out sending troops.- AFP
Russia captures Black Sea island south of Odessa
Russian forces have captured Zmiinyi Island in the Black Sea, where 82 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered to them, Russia’s defence ministry said on Friday.
Ukrainian officials have said that all 13 border guards deployed on the island south of the port city of Odessa were killed by arms fire from a Russian warship.- Reuters
Clashes in northern district of Kyiv city
Explosions and gunfire erupted in a northern district of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Friday, an AFP reporter on the ground heard, as invading Russian forces closed in.
Pedestrians ran for safety and small arms fire and explosions were heard in the Obolonsky area. The larger blasts could be heard as far away as the city centre.
Russian forces first arrived on the outskirts of Kyiv on Thursday when helicopter-borne troops assaulted an airfield just outside the city, close to Obolonsky.
The Ukrainian military claims to have repulsed the attack on the Gostomel airbase, but Russian ground forces have also been pushing down the west bank of the Dnieper river from Belarus.
As they arrived in Obolonsky, within the city, the Ministry of Defence’s Facebook page urged civilians to resist.
“We urge citizens to inform us of troop movements, to make Molotov cocktails, and neutralise the enemy,” it said.- AFP
3 injured after rocket hits apartment in Kyiv
Kyiv mayor Vitaly Klitschko said at least three people were injured when a rocket hit a multi-story apartment building in Ukraine’s capital on Friday, starting a fire.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the Russian military’s claim it is not targeting civilian areas is “a lie.” He said that military and civilian areas in Ukraine are both being hit by Russian attacks. - AP
Russia to deploy paratroopers to guard Chernobyl site
Russia will deploy paratroopers to help guard the closed Chernobyl nuclear power plant near Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, a spokesman for Russia’s defence ministry said on Friday.
Radiation levels at the plant are normal, the spokesman told a briefing. Russian troops, which started a full-scale military operation in Ukraine on Thursday, have destroyed 118 Ukrainian military infrastructure sites, he said.- Reuters
Bilateral payments with Russia unlikely to be impacted amid sanctions
Bilateral payments with Russia may not be impacted even as the US and other western countries have imposed economic sanctions on Moscow in the wake of the attack on on Ukraine.
India and Russia bilateral payments are made in Indian rupee. For both imports and exports, payments are made or received in the rupee for shipments. So, sanctions by the West may not have an impact on the payments, barring exchange rate fluctuation, sources said on Friday.
Russia is one of biggest suppliers of defence products and equipment to India mostly under government-to-government contract.
Bilateral trade between India and Russia stood at $9.4 billion so far this fiscal year, against $8.1 billion in 2020-21.- PTI
People across the world hold demonstrations against the Russian military operation
Ukraine army says fighting Russian forces outside capital
Ukraine’s army said Friday it was fighting invading Russian forces northwest of the capital Kyiv, as Moscow pressed on with its advance on the pro-Western country for a second day.
“Airborne assault troops of the Ukrainian armed forces are fighting in the areas of the settlements of Dymer and Invankiv,” Kyiv’s army said on its Facebook page. Dymer is around 45 kilometres (28 miles) north of Kyiv, while Ivankiv is around 60 kilometres northwest of the Ukrainian capital.- AFP
Kyiv calls air raid alert after Russian missile strikes
The Ukrainian capital of Kyiv called an air raid alert after Russian missile strikes early on Friday, Ukrainian television said, as municipal authorities urged people to go to the nearest shelters.- Reuters
China prepares to evacuate its nationals from Ukraine after Russian military action
China is gearing up to bring back its nationals from Ukraine by chartered flights following the massive military operations launched by Russia against the east European country, the official media here reported on Friday.
The Chinese Embassy in Kyiv issued a notice on Thursday in preparation for bringing back Chinese nationals from Ukraine.
International Criminal Court may investigate possible war crimes after Russian invasion of Ukraine
International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan on Friday expressed his concern over the Russian invasion of Ukraine and said his court may investigate possible war crimes in the country.
“I have been closely following recent developments in and around Ukraine with increasing concern,” Mr. Khan said in a statement.
“I remind all sides conducting hostilities on the territory of Ukraine that my office may exercise its jurisdiction and investigate any act of genocide, crime against humanity or war crime committed within Ukraine.”
Following the Russian annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and the subsequent fighting in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian government forces, Ukraine accepted ICC jurisdiction for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed on its territory since February 2014.- Reuters
India stops buying sunoil as Ukraine conflict maroons shipments -dealers
About 380,000 tonnes of sunflower oil shipments from the Black sea region to India are stuck at ports and with producers, and new purchases have stalled after ports suspended operations following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, four dealers told Reuters.
There is no clarity when loading of the cargoes worth —$570 million at current prices — from Ukraine and Russia will resume, pushing Indian buyers to replace sunoil with soyoil and palm oil for March and April shipments, dealers said.
The Black Sea region accounts for 60% of world sunoil output and 76% of exports, and India is the top global edible oil importer.
New Delhi’s pivot to alternate oils could further support Malaysian palm oil and U.S. soyoil futures, which are already trading near record highs.-Reuters
Ukraine’s Zelensky says Russian actions show sanctions not enough
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that continued Russian aggression against his country showed that sanctions imposed on Moscow by the West were not enough.
Mr. Zelensky said the world was continuing to observe what was going on in Ukraine from afar.
He was speaking after Ukraine said its capital city Kyiv had been struck by Russian missiles in the early hours of Friday morning.- Reuters
91 students from Karnataka stranded in Ukraine
As many as 91 persons from 22 districts in Karnataka are stranded in crisis-hit Ukraine, according to the latest figures shared by the Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA).
As per the district-wise information of stranded persons received by the control room of the Disaster Management as of 6 a.m. on February 25, Bengaluru had the highest number at 28. Ten are from Mysuru and five each from Ballari and Hassan. Four each are from Bagalkot and Chamarajanagar, three each from Chikkaballapur, Chikkamagaluru, Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada, Haveri and Raichur, two each from Chitradurga, Davangere, Dharwad, Kalaburagi, Mandya, Udupi, and Vijayapura, and one each from Kolar, Shivamogga, and Uttara Kannada.
All 91 persons are students pursuing medical courses.
Officials say Ukraine no longer in control of Chernobyl site
A presidential adviser says Ukraine lost control of the Chernobyl nuclear site, where Ukrainian forces had waged a fierce battle with Russian troops.
Adviser Myhailo Podolyak told The Associated Press that Ukrainian authorities did not know the current condition of the facilities at Chernobyl, the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster.
“After the absolutely senseless attack of the Russians in this direction, it is impossible to say that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is safe,” he said.
Vizag student stranded in Ukraine says she is safe in a bunker
“We are in a bunker, two floors below the ground. We can neither hear the sounds of the bombings nor see anything outside. There is no power, but we are safe,” Reddy Nomula Satya Sreeja of Visakhapatnam told The Hindu in a voice choked with emotion as she spoke on a WhatsApp call from war-torn Ukraine on Thursday night.
Video circulating on social media shows Indian students take shelter in the basement of a univeristy in Kharkiv
Mumbai city collectorate issues special contact number, e-mail for residents stuck in Ukraine
Mumbai City Collector Rajiv Nivatkar has appealed to the residents of the island city, who are currently stranded in Ukraine, to contact the designated number and e-mail address for assistance.
Russia on Thursday launched a military operation against Ukraine following weeks of high tension.
The collector office said several residents, including the students, are stuck in Ukraine.
The residents of the island city stuck in Ukraine can contact on 022-22664232 or on e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org.- PTI
Ukraine central bank bans payments to Russia, Belarus
Ukraine’s central bank has banned payments to entities in Russia and Belarus as well as operations involving both nations’ currencies, the regulator said on Friday, a day after Russia launched a full-scale invasion.- Reuters
Russia presses invasion to outskirts of Ukrainian capital
Russia pressed its invasion of Ukraine to the outskirts of the capital Friday after unleashing airstrikes on cities and military bases and sending in troops and tanks from three sides in an attack that could rewrite the global post-Cold War security order.
Explosions sounded before dawn in Kyiv as Western leaders scheduled an emergency meeting and Ukraine’s president pleaded for international help. The nature of the explosions was not immediately clear, but the blasts came amid signs that the capital and largest Ukrainian city was increasingly threatened following a day of fighting that left more than 100 Ukrainians dead.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the government had information that “subversive groups” were encroaching on the city, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Kyiv “could well be under siege” in what U.S. officials believe is a brazen attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to dismantle the government and replace it with his own regime.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told lawmakers on a phone call that Russian mechanized forces that entered from Belarus were about 20 miles from Kyiv, according to a person familiar with the call.- AP
Hundreds arrested as shocked Russians protest Ukraine attack
Shocked Russians turned out by the thousands Thursday to decry their country's invasion of Ukraine as emotional calls for protests grew on social media. Some 1,745 people in 54 Russian cities were detained, at least 957 of them in Moscow.
Hundreds of posts came pouring in condemning Moscow’s most aggressive actions since the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Vladimir Putin called the attack a “special military operation” to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine from “genocide” — a false claim the U.S. had predicted would be a pretext for invasion, and which many Russians roundly rejected.
States set up helplines, seek evacuation of Indian students from Ukraine
As the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to escalate, States have started helplines for Indians stuck in Ukraine.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin wrote to the Ministry of External Affairs requesting immediate evacuation. About 5,000 students from Tamil Nadu, mostly in professional courses, and other emigrants from Tamil Nadu are now stranded in Ukraine.
Telangana Bharatiya Janata Party president Bandi Sanjay Kumar submitted representation from family members of a student stranded at Boryspil International Airport near Kyiv, and asked for “urgent action to evacuate the students to India.”
Explosions heard in Kyiv, official says enemy aircraft downed
Ukrainian forces downed an enemy aircraft over Kyiv in the early hours of Friday, which then crashed into a residential building and set it on fire, said Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to the interior minister.
It was unclear whether the aircraft was manned. Mr. Herashchenko wrote on Telegram that a nine-storey residential building was on fire.
A series of explosions were heard in Kyiv earlier which Mr. Herashchenko said were the sounds of air defences firing at the aircraft.- Reuters
U.N. gives $20 million to scale up Ukraine humanitarian aid
The United Nations has announced that it is immediately allocating $20 million to scale up UN humanitarian operations in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made the announcement on Thursday, saying the UN and its humanitarian partners “are committed to staying and delivering, to support people in Ukraine in their time of need...regardless of who or where they are”.
“With deaths rising, we are seeing images of fear, anguish and terror in every corner of Ukraine,” the UN chief said. “People—everyday innocent people —always pay the highest price.” U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said the $20 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund will support emergency operations along the contact line in eastern Donetsk and Luhansk and in other areas of the country, and will “help with health care, shelter, food, and water and sanitation to the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict”.- AP
U.S. condemns report of hostages at Chernobyl
The White House is expressing outrage at “credible reports” from Ukrainian officials that the staff at the shuttered Chernoybl nuclear plant have been taken hostage by Russian troops.
Press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that “we condemn it and we request their release.”
Ms. Psaki says the U.S. has no assessment on the state of the plant where radioactivity is still leaking decades after the worst nuclear disaster in history. But she says hostage taking could hamper efforts to maintain the nuclear facility and is “incredibly alarming and greatly concerning.”
Ms. Psaki spoke after Alyona Shevtsova, an adviser to the commander of Ukraine’s Ground Forces, wrote on Facebook that the staff at the Chernobyl plant had been “taken hostage” when Russian troops seized the facility.- AP
New Zealand announces travel bans, trade prohibitions with Russia
New Zealand imposed targeted travel bans on Russia and prohibited goods trade to its military and security forces as it joined Western allies in imposing sanctions after Moscow’s military invaded Ukraine.
“The world is speaking and sending a very clear message to Russia that what they have done is wrong and they will face the condemnation of the world,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
More sanctions may follow as the conflict escalates, Ms. Ardern said- Reuters
U.N. Security Council to vote Friday on condemning Russia
The United Nations Security Council will vote on Friday on a draft resolution that would condemn Russia for invading Ukraine and require Moscow to immediately and unconditionally withdraw, but the measure is set to fail because Moscow can cast a veto.
The U.S.-drafted resolution is then expected to be taken up by the 193-member U.N. General Assembly within days, a senior U.S. administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said earlier on Thursday.
Although action will be blocked in the 15-member Security Council, Washington and allies see a vote as a chance to show Moscow is isolated over its actions. Diplomats said it appeared at least 11 members would vote in favor, while it was unclear how China, India and the United Arab Emirates would vote.- Reuters
EU says Putin must and will fail as it agrees new sanctions
President Vladimir Putin “must and will fail,” top European Union leaders said on Friday as they agreed new sanctions over his invasion of Ukraine, saying he was trying to bring the continent back to the age of empires and confrontations.
The bloc’s leaders agreed in principle at an emergency overnight summit to impose new economic sanctions, joining the United States and others in taking steps such as curbing Russia’s access to technologies.
The EU will freeze Russian assets in the bloc and halt its banks’ access to European financial markets as part of what EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell described as “the harshest package of sanctions we have ever implemented”.
“This package includes financial sanctions, targeting 70% of the Russian banking market and key state owned companies, including in defence,” EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter.
She told a news conference that the sanctions, which also limit Russia’s access to financial markets, would increase Russia’s borrowing costs and raise inflation there.
Von der Leyen also said that export curbs to Russia would hurt its oil sector by stopping access to material it needs from the EU for its oil refineries. That will, over time, trigger a depletion in Russia’s oil refining revenues, she said.- Reuters
Biden announces additional sanctions on Russia
U.S. President Joe Biden announced additional sanctions on Russian entities and individuals hours after Russia began an assault on Ukraine.
“Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences,” Mr. Biden said during a televised address to the nation from the East Room of the White House on Thursday afternoon.