Russia-Ukraine crisis live updates | February 28, 2022

Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia.

Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Almost four days after Russia began its military operation, Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that a delegation will meet with Russian officials at an unspecified location on the Belarusian border.

This development followed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s orders to put Russian nuclear forces on high alert, a move that Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said was timed to put pressure on Ukraine during the negotiations.

The Russian invasion has so far resulted in the deaths of 352 Ukrainian civilians including 14 children, according to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry. Additionally, around 400,000 Ukrainians have crossed into the EU since the start of the offensive.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a two hour long, high level meeting on February 27, in which he reiterated that, “ensuring safety of our students and evacuating them” is top priority. India has brought back a total of 907 stranded citizens from that country since Saturday when the first evacuation flight from Bucharest with 219 people on board landed in Mumbai under Operation Ganga.

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:

Ukraine

Ukraine says more Russia shelling during talks

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russian troops have intensified shelling of Ukraine, calling it an effort to force his Government into making concessions during talks held on Monday.

In a video address late on Monday, Mr. Zelenskyy says that “the talks were taking place against the backdrop of bombing and shelling of our territory, our cities. Synchronising of the shelling with the negotiating process was obvious. I believe Russia is trying to put pressure [on Ukraine] with this simple method.” The President gave no details about the hours-long talks themselves. But he says Ukraine is not prepared to make concessions “when one side is hitting each other with rocket artillery”. Mr. Zelenskyy says that Kyiv, the capital, remains “a key goal” for the Russians and that Russian forces have also shelled the city of Kharkiv with rocket artillery. — AP

India at UNGA special session

India calls for immediate cessation of violence, says all differences can only be bridged through honest dialogue

India has said that it was deeply concerned over the deteriorating situation in Ukraine and reiterated its call for immediate cessation of violence and end to hostilities, saying all differences can only be bridged through honest, sincere and sustained dialogue.

India’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti told a rare emergency special session of the U.N. General Assembly on Ukraine convened on February 28 that New Delhi is doing whatever it can to undertake immediate and urgent evacuation efforts of Indian nationals still stranded in Ukraine. — PTI

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United Nations

U.S. Expels 12 Russian Diplomats Staffing U.N. Mission 

The beginning of an already fraught United Nations Security Council meeting got even more tense when Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, informed the body that the U.S. had just expelled twelve of his colleagues from the country, a move confirmed by the American Deputy UNPR Richard Mills.

Mr. Nebenzia, who conducts the meeting since Russia holds the presidency of the Council for February, opened by saying the “host country” [the U.S.] had taken “yet another hostile step” against the Russian mission by expelling twelve staff. 

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India at UN

‘India ready to help nationals of neighbouring, developing countries stranded in Ukraine’ Tirumurti tells U.N. Security Council 

As the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) met in a special session to vote on a resolution calling for Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine, the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) met to discuss the humanitarian crisis that is developing in the region.

Expressing concern about the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UNPR) T.S. Tirumurti said that India’s evacuation efforts had been hampered by the events at the Ukraine border. Mr. Tirumurti also offered evacuation assistance to citizens of developing countries and India’s neighbours whose nationals were stranded in Ukraine.

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USA

Ukraine seeks to join EU as round of talks with Russia ends

An embattled Ukraine moved to solidify its bond with the West on Monday by applying to join the European Union, while the first round of Ukraine-Russia talks aimed at ending the fighting concluded with no deal but an agreement to keep talking.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted photos of himself signing the EU application, a largely symbolic move that could take years to become reality and is unlikely to sit well with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has long accused the West of trying to pull Ukraine into its orbit.

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United Nations

Fiery speeches as UNGA begins discussion on Ukraine at rare emergency session 

“Enough is enough,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, addressing the UN General Assembly (UNGA), hearing a resolution to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine as he called for an immediate cessation of violence and withdrawal of Russia’s military from Ukrainian territory.

“The fighting in Ukraine must stop,” Mr. Guterres said. “We are facing a tragedy for Ukraine, but also a major regional crisis with potentially disastrous implications for us all.”

In a reference to President Vladimir Putin’s decision to place Russian nuclear weapons on a more elevated alert, and Belarus President Lukashenko’s decision to reverse his country’s non-nuclear status, Mr. Guterres said the “mere idea of a nuclear conflict is simply inconceivable,” adding that, “Nothing can justify the use of nuclear weapons.”

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Ukraine-Russia

Talks between Moscow and Kyiv to continue

The first round of Ukraine-Russia talks aimed at ending the fighting between Moscow and its smaller neighbor concluded with no immediate agreements.

An aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin said talks with Ukrainian officials lasted nearly five hours.

Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei makes a statement as Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov and delegates prepare for talks with Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s presidential aide and head of delegation, in the Gomel region, Belarus on February 28, 2022.

Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei makes a statement as Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov and delegates prepare for talks with Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s presidential aide and head of delegation, in the Gomel region, Belarus on February 28, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Vladimir Medinsky headed the Russian delegation in Belarus. He said the two sides “found certain points on which common positions could be foreseen.”

Another round of talks was agreed to, Mr. Medinsky said.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, gave few details except to say that the talks, held near the Ukraine-Belarus border, were focused on a possible cease-fire and that a second round could take place “in the near future.”

“The next meeting will take place in the coming days on the Polish-Belarusian border, there is an agreement to that effect,” Mr. Medinsky said. - AP

United States

Caught between crises, Biden to urge optimism in State of the Union

Embroiled in the most severe U.S.-Russia crisis since the Cold War, President Joe Biden will take on a no less difficult domestic challenge during his State of the Union address: restoring Americans’ optimism.

Mr. Biden has been bouncing between calamities his first year in office -- from Donald Trump threatening U.S. democracy to the Afghan debacle, from waves of Covid variants to economic turmoil, and now Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Yet when he addresses Tuesday’s joint session of Congress, Mr. Biden will accentuate the positive.

Asked for the 79-year-old president’s top line, his Press Secretary Jen Psaki told ABC News: “His belief in the resilience of the American people and the strength of the American people.” - AFP

United Kingdom

UK will lead on efforts to get Russia suspended from Interpol, says minister

Britain will lead international efforts to see Russia suspended from the global police agency Interpol, Interior Minister Priti Patel said on Monday, after the invasion of Ukraine.

“The Ukrainian government has today requested that the Russian government be suspended from its membership of Interpol and we will be leading all international efforts to that effect,” Ms. Patel told parliament. - Reuters

India

India worried about impact on India’s farming sector, says Finance Minister

India is worried about the impact caused by the standoff between Ukraine and Russia, particularly on its exports, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday.

Interacting with industry captains at an event in Chennai, Sitharaman said the Centre was seized of the matter and discussions were on between ministries for a “complete assessment” on the issue.

“On the larger issue of the situation prevailing in Ukraine and about India’s position in the UN Security Council and so on. It is widely open and I went through the press releases and press commentaries which the External Affairs Ministry is making,” she said.

Later, speaking at the Doordarshan Conclave, Ms. Sitharaman also clarified that the Centre would ensure people were not affected by the global fuel supply disruptions due to the standoff between Ukraine and Russia. - PTI

IOC urges sports events to exclude Russian, Belarusian athletes

The International Olympic Committee on Monday called on sports organisers to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from international events following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“In order to protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants, the IOC recommends that International Sports Federations and sports event organisers not invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions,” it said in a statement. - AFP

Kharkiv, Ukraine

Russian shelling kills 11 civilian in Kharkiv: official

At least 11 civilians have been killed in Russian shelling on Ukraine’s second most populated city Kharkiv on Monday, the regional Governor said, adding dozens more had been injured.

“The Russian enemy is bombing residential areas,” Oleg Sinegubov, wrote on the Telegram messaging app, saying that: “As a result of the bombardments that are ongoing, we cannot call on the emergency services... currently there are 11 dead and dozens wounded”.

China

China opposes U.S., E.U. sanctions against Russia; says will carry out normal trade with Moscow

China, a close ally of Russia, said on Monday that it was opposed to illegal unilateral sanctions and will continue to carry out normal trade cooperation with Moscow, as the United States, European Union and their allies stepped up punitive measures against Russia, including the interbank messaging system SWIFT.

Asked about what some have described as the “financial nuclear option” at a regular press briefing in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said China opposes the use of sanctions to solve problems and is even more opposed to unilateral sanctions that have no basis in international law.

“China and Russia will continue to carry out normal trade cooperation in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit,” Mr. Wang said.

India

India to send humanitarian aid to Ukraine

Following a request from the Ambassador of Ukraine, India will send humanitarian assistance, including medicines to the war-torn country, Ministry of External Affairs Official Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said. - Kallol Bhattacharjee

India

Over 8,000 Indians leave Ukraine so far

Over 8000 Indian nationals have left Ukraine since the initial advisory was issued, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

He said the sixth evacuation flight had landed -- four flights from Bucharest and two from Budapest. Total number of Indians evacuated in the flights has reached 1,396, he added.

“We want to emphasize students should not reach Western Ukraine borders directly. There are long queues in the borders. Please stay in nearby towns where Indian teams and Ukraine universities will help you,” Mr. Bagchi said.

He also said, “Flights are not a constraint. We will arrange more flights. A new evacuation route through Maldova has been opened.” - Kallol Bhattacharjee

Ukraine

Ukraine seeks humanitarian assistance from India

Ukraine has sought humanitarian assistance from India on Sunday and India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that this request would be addressed “very quickly”, Ambassador Igor Polikha tells The Hindu. - Kallol Bhattacharjee

Belarus

Russia, Ukraine sit for talks in Belarus

Russia's foreign ministry said talks between Ukraine and Russia had begun, shortly after the Ukrainian side had said the same, and published photos of the delegations sitting opposite each other at a long table.

Ukraine has said its goal for the talks is an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine.

Russia has been cagier, with the Kremlin declining to comment on Moscow's aim in negotiations. - Reuters

Ukraine

Ukraine resists invasion on day five of war

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that the next 24 hours will be crucial. The Russian offensive cannot claim any significant victories, and Russia has not taken any Ukrainian cities, Mr Zelensky said. However, Russian troops claim to be in the coastal port of Berdyansk. - Graphic News

United Nations

Over 100 civilians killed in Ukraine war, including seven children: UN

The UN human rights chief says at least 102 civilians, including seven children, had been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded five days ago, warning true numbers could be far higher.

Speaking before the UN Human Rights Council, Michelle Bachelet said her office had recorded 406 civilian casualties in Ukraine, including 102 deaths, since Russia began its full-scale attack last Thursday.

"Most of these civilians were killed by explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and airstrikes," she said, warning "the real figures are, I fear, considerably higher".

"Millions of civilians, including vulnerable and older people, are forced to huddle in different forms of bomb shelters, such as underground stations, to escape explosions," she said.

She pointed out that the UN refugee agency has already tallied 368,000 people fleeing the country as refugees, with many more displaced inside Ukraine. - AFP

India

Health Ministry exempts evacuated Indians from mandatory pre-boarding RT-PCR test

In a big relief to the stranded Indians, the Union Health Minstry has exempted them from mandatory vaccine certificate and pre-boarding RT-PCR test. They will also not be subjected to isolation, but will have to self-monitor their health for 14 days.

So far 1,156 Indians have arrived from Ukraine and none has been kept under isolation, a release issued by the Union Health Ministry said on Monday.

Belarus

Ukraine’s delegation has arrived at border for talks with Russia, says presidency

A Ukrainian delegation has arrived at the border with Belarus for talks on Monday with Russian representatives that will focus on achieving an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian forces, the Ukrainian presidency said in a statement.

The delegation includes Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov and presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak among others, it said.- Reuters

Ukraine

Ukraine president asks for fast-track EU membership

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Monday asked the European Union to allow Ukraine to gain membership under a special procedure immediately as it defends itself from invasion by Russian forces.

“Our goal is to be with all Europeans and, most importantly, to be equal. I’m sure that’s fair. I am sure we deserve it,” he said in a video speech shared on social media.- Reuters

India

‘Actively with Indian partners’: Ambassador Polikha of Ukraine

Addressing the media on February 28, Ambassador Polikha of Ukraine said that Russia is having unprecedented casualties. “5300 soldiers and officers are dead. The figure is increasing,” he said.

“Russian people really do not know real picture. We are asking foreign friends to put pressure on Putin to stop war,” said Mr. Polikha.

On the issue of Indians stranded in Ukraine, Mr. Polikha said, that he is actively working with Indian partners and that he had a long and productive meeting with Foreign Secretary.

“I and my deputy are trying to use our personal contacts to mitigate the situation for Indian students,” he said.

Mr. Polikha informed that under present circumstances, since there are less refugees on the Hungarian border, it’s advised to use the same. “But we don’t know what will happen a few hours later,” he added.

Addressing the incidents of Indian students being harrased in Ukraine, Mr. Polikha said, “Some are saying that there is racism and discrimination against Indians. Please don’t sensationalize the tragedy. We are victims of a tragedy.”

Stating that Russian bombing and shelling is the cause of this tragedy, which is also creating problems for Indian students, the Ambassador said, “ Main assurance for safety of Indians in Ukraine should be given by Putin.”- Kallol Bhattacherjee

UNHRC

UN rights council votes to hold urgent debate on Ukraine

The UN Human Rights Council voted Monday to hold an urgent debate about Russia’s deadly invasion of Ukraine, as requested by Kyiv, amid widespread international condemnation of Moscow’s attack.

Ukraine’s request to hold an urgent debate at the council in Geneva was supported by 29 of the council’s 47 members, with five voting against, including Russia and China, and 13 abstentions.- AFP

India

IndiGo and SpiceJet to operate flights to neigbouring countries of Ukraine

IndiGo will operate a flight each to Bucharest, Romania and Budapest, Hungary on Monday. SpiceJet will also be mounting a flight to Budapest today.- Jagriti Chandra

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India

India worried about impact on India’s farming sector, says FM

India is more worried about the impact caused by the standoff between Ukraine and Russia, particularly on its exports, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday. Interacting with industry captains at an event here, Sitharaman said the Centre was seized of the matter and discussions were on between Ministries for a “complete assessment” on the issue.

Voicing concern over the country’s imports and exports from Russia and the war-torn nation, the Union Minister said, “As regards to what is going to have a bearing on our immediate imports and equally on our exports to Ukraine, we are rightly worried about what comes from there, but I am more worried, about what is going to happen to our exporters who are doing very well, particularly to the farming sector..,” To a query on the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, Ms. Sitharaman said,

“We are already looking at an emergent situation but I will have to have a complete assessment done through the various concerned Ministries and then only be in a position to comment on it.” She however assured that the government was fairly seized of the matter in its granular form, as it is going to have an impact on the essentials like edible oil coming from Ukraine and so on.- PTI

Ukraine

Ukraine says world’s largest plane damaged

Ukraine’s defense industry conglomerate says the world’s largest plane that was in regular operation was heavily damaged in fighting with Russian troops at the airport outside Kyiv where it was parked.

The Ukroboronprom company said in a statement that the Antonov-225 was “destroyed” but would be repaired. The An-225, which is operated by Ukroboronprom’s subsidiary Antonov Airlines, is used to move exceptionally large cargos. Its arrivals and departures at overseas airports often attract aviation buffs to observe the lumbering plane with a 290-foot (84-meter) wingspan.

Only two planes have been built with larger wingspans — the Stratolaunch and the Hughes “Spruce Goose” — but each was used only for a single flight.- AP

 The world’s largest cargo aircraft Antonov An-225 Mriya. File.

The world’s largest cargo aircraft Antonov An-225 Mriya. File. | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

China

China urges calm after Putin puts nuclear deterrent on high alert

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Monday that all sides should remain calm and avoid further escalation, after Russian President Vladimir Putin put his country’s nuclear deterrent on high alert.

Mr. Wang, speaking at a regular daily media briefing, also reiterated China’s view that all countries’ legitimate security concerns should be taken seriously.- Reuters

Latvia

Latvia allows its citizens to fight in Ukraine

Latvia’s parliament voted unanimously on Monday to allow its nationals to fight in Ukraine if willing, the parliament said in a statement.

“Our citizens who want to support Ukraine and volunteer to serve there to defend Ukraine’s independence and our common security must be able to do so,” said Juris Rancanis, chairman of the parliamentary defence, home affairs and corruption prevention commission, which drafted the law.- Reuters

India

Four Union Ministers to travel to Ukraine’s neighbouring countries to coordinate evacuation of Indians

Union Ministers Hardeep Singh Puri, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kiren Rijiju and Gen (Retd) V.K. Singh will be travelling to the neighbouring countries of Ukraine to coordinate the evacuation mission and help students stranded in the conflict region, according to sources in the government.

Jyotiraditya Scindia will be looking at Romania and Moldova, Kiren Rijiju will go to Slovakia, Hardeep Singh Puri will coordinate the mission in Hungary, while V. K. Singh will be in Poland to manage the evacuation.- Nistula Hebbar

Kyiv, Ukraine

Russia says Kyiv residents can leave safely

The Russian military says that residents of the Ukrainian capital can use a safe corridor to leave the city if they want.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Monday that Kyiv residents can safely use a highway leading to Vasylkiv just southwest of the Ukrainian capital. The statement came as fighting raged in various parts of the Ukrainian capital, with Ukrainian authorities saying that they were fighting small groups of Russian forces in various sectors of the capital.

Konashenkov charged that Ukrainian “nationalists” were deploying military equipment using the city residents as shields, the allegations that can’t be independently verified. Despite Russian military claims that it wasn’t targeting populated areas, residential buildings, hospitals and schools have been hit all across Ukraine during the Russian invasion that began Thursday.

Konashenkov also announced new land gains, saying Russian troops have taken control of the area around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in the south, noting that the plant was safe and the radiation levels in the area have remained normal.- AP

Ukraine

Head to railway station for onward journey to the Western Ukraine: Indian Embassy in Ukraine

Belarus

Venue for Ukraine-Russia talks “ready”: Belarus

Belarus said Monday that it had prepared the venue that will host talks between delegations from Ukraine and Russia, as Moscow’s offensive against Ukraine went into its fifth day.

Ukraine has agreed to send a delegation to meet Russian representatives in neighbouring Belarus, a key Kremlin ally that has allowed Russian troops passage to attack Ukraine.

“The venue for talks between Russia and Ukraine in Belarus has been prepared, the arrival of delegations is expected,” the Belarusian foreign ministry said on social media, releasing a picture of a long table with Russian and Ukrainian flags.

Separately, Belarusian foreign ministry spokesman Anatoly Glaz said: “The talks will start as soon as all the delegations arrive at the meeting point.”- AFP

Vatican

Vatican says ready to “facilitate dialogue” between Russia and Ukraine

The Vatican is ready to “facilitate dialogue” between Russia and Ukraine to end the war, its top diplomat said on Monday.

Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who ranks second only to the pope in the Vatican hierarchy, told Italian newspapers that “despite the war unleashed by Russia against Ukraine” he was “convinced there is always room for negotiations”.- Reuters

International

People around the world rally against the Russian invasion

Demonstrators hold placards and Ukraine flags during a protest in Trafalgar Square in London on February 27, 2022.

Demonstrators hold placards and Ukraine flags during a protest in Trafalgar Square in London on February 27, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

Protesters lie down on the ground during a rally against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, near the Russian Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on February 28, 2022.

Protesters lie down on the ground during a rally against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, near the Russian Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on February 28, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

People take part in an anti-war protest, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on February 27, 2022.

People take part in an anti-war protest, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on February 27, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

People take part in a protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine outside the White House in Washington, Sunday, on February 27, 2022.

People take part in a protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine outside the White House in Washington, Sunday, on February 27, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

United Kingdom

U.K. says targeting Russian central bank

Britain said on Monday it was taking further measures against the Russian central bank in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

“The UK Government will immediately take all necessary steps to bring into effect restrictions to prohibit any UK natural or legal persons from undertaking financial transactions involving the CBR, the Russian National Wealth Fund, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation,” the government said. - Reuters

Kyiv, Ukrain

Quiet night in Ukraine capital even as Russia tensions flare

President Vladimir Putin dramatically escalated East-West tensions by ordering Russian nuclear forces put on high alert, but the explosions and gunfire that have disrupted life since the start of the invasion appeared to subside around Ukraine’s capital overnight as the Kremlin’s military advances were slowed by an outgunned but determined resistance.

The conflict — seemingly more quiet overnight Sunday than in past nights — could evolve significantly if Russia gets military help from neighboring Belarus, which is expected to send troops into Ukraine as soon as Monday, according to a senior American intelligence official with direct knowledge of current U.S. intelligence assessments who spoke anonymously.

By late Sunday, Russian forces had taken Berdyansk, a Ukrainian city of 100,000 on the Azov Sea coast, according to Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to Zelenskyy’s office. Russian troops also made advances toward Kherson, another city in the south of Ukraine, while Mariupol, a port city on the Sea of Azov that is considered a prime Russian target, is “hanging on,” Arestovich said.- AP

Assam

Assam govt opens helpline for people stranded in war-hit Ukraine, 10 students reach India

Ten students from Assam stranded in war-torn Ukraine have been evacuated along with other Indians so far and they have reached New Delhi and Mumbai on separate flights, the state administration said.

The Assam government said it has been in constant touch with the Ministry of External Affairs to ensure safe return of all people from the state, who are stuck in the restive country.

The administration has also given WhatsApp numbers and email ids, along with a web link for people, who are still stranded in war-hit Ukraine so that they can reach out to the authorities.- PTI

New Delhi

Air India’s fifth evacuation flight lands in Delhi with 249 Indians

Air India’s fifth evacuation flight came from Romanian capital Bucharest to Delhi on Monday morning with 249 Indian nationals who were stranded in Ukraine amid the Russian military offensive, officials said. 

India began evacuation of its citizens from Romania and Hungary — neighbouring countries of Ukraine — from Saturday onwards. Tata Group-owned Air India has evacuated a total of 1,156 Indian nationals in five evacuation flights till now. Officials said one more evacuation flight is expected to land in Delhi on Monday.- PTI

South Korea

South Korea bans exports of strategic items to Russia, joins SWIFT sanctions

South Korea will tighten export controls against Russia, by banning exports of strategic items, and join Western countries’ moves to block some Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system, Seoul’s foreign ministry said on Monday.

The Korean government has also decided to promote the additional release of strategic oil reserves for stabilisation of the international energy market and to further review other measures such as the resale of LNG to Europe, the ministry said in statement.

“The Korean government condemned Russia’s armed invasion of Ukraine and, as a responsible member of the international community, decided to actively participate in the international community’s efforts, including economic sanctions, for a peaceful resolution of the situation,” the statement said.- Reuters

India

Union Ministers to travel to neighbouring countries of Ukraine to coordinate evacuation mission: Gov. sources

Ministers Hardeep Puri, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kiren Rijiju & Gen. V.K. Singh to travel to neighbouring countries of Ukraine to coordinate the evacuation mission and help students.: Government sources- Nistula Hebbar

Facebook

Facebook-owner Meta says Ukraine’s military, politicians targeted in hacking campaign

 Meta Platforms said a hacking group used Facebook to target a handful of public figures in Ukraine, including prominent military officials, politicians and a journalist, amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of the country.

Meta said in the last 48 hours it had also separately removed a network of about 40 fake accounts, groups and pages across Facebook and Instagram that operated from Russia and Ukraine targeting people in Ukraine, for violating its rules against coordinated inauthentic behavior.

A Twitter spokesperson said it had also suspended more than a dozen accounts and blocked the sharing of several links for violating its rules against platform manipulation and spam. It said its ongoing investigation indicated the accounts originated in Russia and were attempting to disrupt the public conversation around the conflict in Ukraine.- Reuters

Ukraine

Ukrainian athletes urge IOC, IPC to suspend Russia, Belarus

Athletes from Ukraine and other nations have called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to suspend Russia and Belarus and ban their athletes from events immediately.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, supported by Belarus, is a clear breach of the Olympic and Paralympic Charters -- a breach that must be met with strong sanctions,” the athletes said in an open letter to IOC President Thomas Bach and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) chief Andrew Parsons.

“Your lack of action will send a message to every athlete in the world that you have chosen Russia and Belarus interests over athlete interests. Your legacy will be defined by your actions,” the letter said.

The letter received widespread support, including from British former marathon runner Paula Radcliffe and Canadian former cross-country skier Beckie Scott.

The IOC has said international sports federations should either move or cancel sports events currently planned in Russia or Belarus, while the IOC’s executive said Russian and Belarusian national flags should not be displayed at international sports events.- Reuters

Russia

Russian Central bank confirms block on foreigners’ bids to sell Russian securities

Russia’s central bank confirmed on Monday it has ordered brokers to suspend the execution of all orders by foreign legal entities and individuals to sell Russian securities.

The bank also said in a statement it had yet to decide whether to open markets other than the forex and money market on Monday.- Reuters

India

PM Modi to chair another high-level meeting on Ukraine crisis

PM Modi to chair another high level meeting on Ukraine crisis today with Government sources saying that some senior ministers may be sent to neighbouring countries of Ukraine to help coordinate evacuation of Indian nationals from the war torn country- Nistula Hebbar

Poland
Refugees from Ukraine arrive to the railway station in Przemysl, Poland, on February 27, 2022.

Refugees from Ukraine arrive to the railway station in Przemysl, Poland, on February 27, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

Canada

Major Canadian cable operators block Russian state-owned broadcaster RT

 Two Canadian cable operators on Sunday said they would drop Russian state-owned broadcaster RT from their channel line-up in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In separate statements issued as Canada joined other countries ramping up sanctions on Moscow, shutting its airspace to Russian aircraft, Rogers Communications and BCE Inc’s Bell said RT will no longer be available on their systems.

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez praised Bell for restricting RT, saying Russia has been conducting information warfare across the world. Rogers will replace RT with a broadcast of the Ukrainian flag, he said.

“RT is the propaganda arm of Putin’s regime that spreads disinformation. It has no place here,” Mr. Rodriguez added.- Reuters

Russia

Rouble tumbles to record low as West steps up Russian sanctions

The Russian rouble tumbled to a record low against the dollar on Monday, after Western nations announced a harsh set of sanctions over the weekend to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, including curbs on the country’s currency reserves.

The rouble fell as far as 119.50 per dollar in Asian trading, a record low for the currency and a steep drop of 30% from Friday’s close. It subsequently recovered to around 110 per dollar.

Russia’s central bank (CBR) announced a slew of measures on Sunday to support domestic markets, as it scrambled to manage the fallout of the sanctions that will block some banks from the SWIFT international payments system.- Reuters

Russia

Internet monitor says Russia blocking Facebook

Russia has apparently rendered Facebook largely unusable across leading Russian telecommunications providers amid rising friction between Moscow and the social media platform.

The London-based internet monitor NetBlocks reports that Facebook’s network of content-distribution servers in Russia was so badly restricted Sunday that “content no longer loads, or loads extremely slowly making the platforms unusable.”

Russian telecoms regulator Roskomnadzor on Friday announced plans to “partially restrict” access to Facebook. That same day, Facebook’s head of security policy had said the company was barring Russian state media from running ads or otherwise profiting on its platform anywhere in the world.- AP

U.S.A.

Biden, allies to talk today to coordinate Ukraine response: White House

U.S. President Joe Biden will hold a secure call with allies and partners on Monday to discuss “developments” in Russia’s attack on Ukraine and “coordinate our united response,” the White House said.

The administration did not elaborate on who would participate in the call, which will take place at 1615 GMT- AFP

Kyiv, Ukraine
Smoke rising after shelling on the outskirts of the city is pictured from Kyiv, Ukraine on February 27, 2022.

Smoke rising after shelling on the outskirts of the city is pictured from Kyiv, Ukraine on February 27, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Ukraine

UN says Ukraine radioactive waste site struck

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog says missiles have hit a radioactive waste disposal site in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, but there are no reports of damage to the buildings or indications of a release of radioactive material.

In a statement late Sunday, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi says Ukrainian authorities informed his office about the overnight strike. He says his agency expects to soon receive the results of on-site radioactive monitoring.

The report came a day after an electrical transformer at a similar disposal facility in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv was damaged.

Such facilities typically hold low-level radioactive materials such as waste from hospitals and industry, but Grossi says the two incidents highlight a “very real risk.”- AP

Ukraine

Blasts heard in Ukraine’s Kyiv, Kharkiv - Ukrainian information body

Blasts were heard in Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and in the major city of Kharkiv on Monday morning, Ukraine’s State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection said.

Kyiv had been quiet for a few hours prior to that, it said in a brief statement on the Telegram messaging app.- Reuters

Australia

Australia to send lethal weapons to Ukraine

Australia will provide lethal military equipment to Ukraine to help the Ukrainians resist the Russian invasion.

The Australian government’s announcement Monday gave no details on what material it may be sending. The move follows an offer on Friday of non-lethal military equipment, medical supplies and a $3 million contribution to a NATO trust fund for support of the besieged country.

Australia has imposed sanctions on more than 350 Russian individuals, including Russian President Vladimir Putin since Thursday.- AP

European Union

EU scrambles for Ukrainian refugee response

The European Union on Sunday moved to coordinate a welcome for hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion, talking notably about offering them temporary protection status.

Around 400,000 Ukrainians have crossed into the EU since the start of the offensive on Thursday, according to an AFP tally. Half of them entered Poland, its government said.

A meeting of EU interior ministers raised the possibility of giving Ukrainians status under an as yet unused 2001 Temporary Protection Directive that would allow them to live and work in the European Union for up to three years.

“A very big majority” of ministers were in favour of rapidly activating that option, said French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency.- AFP

Ukraine

Google temporarily disables Google Maps live traffic data in Ukraine

Alphabet Inc’s Google confirmed on Sunday it has temporarily disabled for Ukraine some Google Maps tools which provide live information about traffic conditions and how busy different places are.

The company said it had taken the action of globally disabling the Google Maps traffic layer and live information on how busy places like stores and restaurants are in Ukraine for the safety of local communities in the country, after consulting with sources including regional authorities.

Big tech companies including Google have said they are taking new measures to protect users’ security in the region.- Reuters

European Union

EU chief says bloc wants Ukraine as a member: “They are one of us”

Ukraine belongs in the European Union and the bloc would like to see the country be a part of it in time, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told Euronews on Sunday in an interview.

“Indeed over time, they belong to us. They are one of us and we want them in,” Von der Leyen said.

Her comments came hours after the 27-nation EU decided to supply weapons to Ukraine, a first in the bloc’s history.- Reuters

UNSC

U.N. Security Council votes to discuss Ukraine at General Assembly, India abstains

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC), on February 27 afternoon, voted to convene an emergency special session of the General Assembly to consider a resolution, vetoed by Russia on Friday, on the situation in Ukraine. The resolution condemned Russia’s aggression and calling for it to withdraw from Ukraine unconditionally. The General Assembly will take up the issue at 10 a.m. New York time on Feb. 28, Secretary General Antonio Guterress announced.

India, along with China and the U.A.E., abstained from Sunday’s vote, as was the case on Friday. Russia voted against the resolution and eleven UNSC members voted in favour of it. Given the vote was procedural, no country had a veto, and the resolution was adopted.

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India

Safety of our students top priority: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a two hour long, high level meeting on February 27 evening on the Russian attack on Ukraine and told External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla that ensuring the safety of Indian students in war torn Ukraine was the Government’s top priority.

Mr. Jaishankar and Mr. Shringla, among other officials of the security establishment, were present at the meeting. “PM Modi said ensuring safety of our students and evacuating them is our top priority,” said a source, adding that “it was discussed to further enhance cooperation with neighbouring countries of Ukraine to expedite evacuation”.

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Poland

For Indians, Poland border poses a big hurdle

As the first batches of Indians evacuated from Ukraine started arriving back home, thousands of others still stranded in various parts of the war-torn country continued to appeal to the Indian government to rescue them.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla described the process of evacuation as ‘challenging’ and said the Indian embassies in Hungary, Romania, Poland and Ukraine have deployed all officials to help the students who are caught in the midst of a “live conflict”.

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2022 1:22:24 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/ukraine-russia-crisis-live-updates-february-28-2022/article65091967.ece