Ukraine continues to fight against the Russian invasion as the military operation announced by President Vladimir Putin entered day six. Ukraine on Monday claimed that 3,500 Russian troops had been killed since Moscow’s onslaught began last week, adding that over 200 soldiers were taken as prisoners of war.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine raises several vital questions about the post-Cold War order. It also relates to the balance of power among the world’s mightiest armies. Has the West, led by U.S. President Joe Biden, bowed to Putin’s brazen invasion? Has the Russia-China axis changed the balance of world powers? Why did the U.S. and NATO countries refuse to send armies to defend Ukraine after making threatening statements against Russia?
The exodus of innocent population:
There were heart breaking scenes of thousands of families, including children trying to enter Poland from Ukraine, with a 40 km long tailback of cars waiting. Visually, people walked on foot for more than ten hours under sub-zero temperatures, with several families sleeping on the ice. There were images of Ukrainian kids with masks, sitting in rows inside the subway of Kiev Metro. One report said more than 50,000 people were homeless after Russia invaded Ukraine.
On Monday, the head of the U.N. refugee agency said that more than 500,000 people had fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began last week — and more than half had gone to neighbouring Poland.
Poland has accepted the most Ukrainians, at 281,000, a global spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency told NBC News on Monday. Hungary has taken in nearly 85,000 refugees, while Moldova, Romania, and Slovakia have accepted 30,000 to around 36,000. Close to 35,000 have fled to other European countries.
Though Russia may claim that its army is not targeting civilians, the situation is the opposite. There are visuals of hundreds of people crammed into subways and bomb shelters, cowering in fright as siren wails and missiles dropped from the sky. There were visuals of civilians running away in fear as Russian forces began shelling near the Obolon metro station in Kiev.
There is also a question: What next?
It is now clear that Putin wants to negotiate from the point of strength. He is already on record for having demanded that Ukraine declare that it will not seek membership of NATO, two, it must announce that it will be a country in eastern Europe having ‘neutral status’. And three, it must reduce its army strength. It is crystal clear that Putin wants Ukraine to be a toothless nation with little military force.
It was Russia’s aim since day one. Putin has already said that Ukraine must stop following the US and NATO diktats. Towards this end, Putin and his army applied pressure and are now on the verge of forcing Ukraine to accept its conditions. The world is overseeing these developments.
Putin is clear about his motive. He wants to decapitate or dislodge the present government in Kiev and install a puppet government. As a result, the bombs and missiles that rained on Ukraine have caused enormous casualties for ordinary citizens.
In a significant breakthrough amid war, both the countries have agreed to hold talks on the border of Belarus “without preconditions”, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. In the lead-up to the negotiations at the Belarusian border, Ukraine said it would push for an immediate cease-fire and the withdrawal of Russian troops.
However, on Monday, Ukrainian and Russian officials wrapped up the inconclusive first round of cease-fire talks near the border with Belarus. Both sides agreed to continue more negotiations.
An economic backlash against Russia mounts after talks with Ukraine end with no resolution.
Meanwhile, the United States said Monday that it was expelling 12 members of Russia’s UN mission from America for being “intelligence operatives,” prompting a furious response from Moscow, which denounced what it called a “hostile move.” A spokeswoman for the US mission to the UN said those ordered to leave had “abused their privileges of residency in the United States by engaging in espionage activities that are averse to our national security.”
“We are taking this action following the UN Headquarters Agreement. This action has been in development for several months,” said the spokeswoman, Olivia Dalton. Richard Mills, the US’s deputy ambassador to the UN, told a Security Council meeting on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine that the dozen had engaged in non-diplomatic activities.
“Those diplomats that have been asked to leave the United States were engaged in activities that were not under their responsibilities and obligations as diplomats,” he said, without elaborating further. “This is a hostile move against our country,” Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to Washington, said on Facebook, adding that Moscow was “deeply disappointed” and “totally rejected” the US claims.
According to a Russian diplomatic source, the Russian mission to the UN has around 100 staff. The expulsion announcement came on the last day of Russia’s rotating presidency of the UN Security Council, which changes every month. Russia will cede the presidential seat to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.
Putin Provokes Revolt in the Ukrainian Army.
On Friday night, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the Ukrainian army to revolt against its President and political leadership. Putin called upon the Ukrainian military to remove its leaders from power, calling them “terrorists, drug addicts, and neo-Nazis.” On the other hand, the US, Canada, UK, and European Union slapped sanctions against Putin and his foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, holding them directly responsible for the “unprovoked and unlawful invasion”. In addition, the EU unanimously agreed to freeze its assets.
Feeble reaction from US, NATO nations:
The inspirational words of Ukrainian president Zelenskyy sound scary: “Our country has been left alone to fight the invading Russian army. Who is ready to fight alongside us? I don’t see anyone. Who is ready to give Ukraine a guarantee of NATO membership? Everyone is afraid. We are defending Ukraine alone.”
The world is disappointed over the feeble reaction from the US. The US President Joe Biden had been threatening Russia to be ready to face the consequences if it invaded Ukraine. Still, when the crunch time came, Biden and his allies in the West decided not to send their armies to defend Ukraine. As a result, at this point, the people of Ukraine are at the mercy of an aggressive Russian army.
Joe Biden may have gone to sleep after announcing sanctions against Russia daily. UK prime minister Boris Johnson may limit his issuing bombastic statements against Putin. French President Macron may have disappeared from view after issuing threats to Russia, but who are the ultimate losers?
worldwide anti-Russian protests
The innocent and helpless citizens of Ukraine, whose lives have turned topsy-turvy after the Russian invasion, have left their homes searching for security and safety, with their life savings ruined. Their apartments have turned into rubble in front of their eyes. These are the consequences of mindless war.
There have been worldwide anti-Russian protests in New York, Paris, and other major cities, and even in St. Petersburg, Russia, where several protesters were later rounded up. Nobody in the world wants a war. Even the Russians do not want a war, with many Russians saying that Putin is at war. Peace-loving people worldwide are praying for an early end to this invasion. Those fleeing their homes in sub-zero temperatures, sleeping on ice, and inside subways and bomb shelters want the war to end immediately.
These commoners have nothing to do with this mindless war, but it is the war that is destroying their lives and their near and dear ones. Children are being orphaned, and parents are losing their sons and daughters. People worldwide are sympathizing with Ukrainians for the miseries that have been heaped on them.
Stand by Government of India in the present state of affair
India reiterates call for ‘cessation of violence in Ukraine at UNSC meet
India remains deeply concerned about the unfolding developments in Ukraine. Our call for an immediate cessation of violence and an end to all hostilities is an urgent imperative: India’s Permanent Rep to U.N., TS Tirumurti, at UNSC meeting on the Russia-Ukraine war.
India, which has deep trade and defence ties with Russia, has not publicly condemned its long-standing ally but has called for an end to violence and for diplomacy and dialogue to resolve the conflict.
Efforts made by the government for the safety of its citizens
In this hour of crisis, the efforts being made by the Indian government to evacuate its citizens from war-torn Ukraine were appreciated. Four Air India flights – three to Romania and one to Hungary – are scheduled to evacuate Indian citizens. Russian President Putin has given a personal assurance to Prime Minister Modi that instructions have been given to Russian forces to ensure the safety of Indian citizens. Indian consulate officials are active in Poland, Hungary, and Romania to arrange the smooth evacuation of our citizens who have crossed over from Ukraine.
Advancing Russian forces
The central square of Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, was shelled on Tuesday by advancing Russian forces that hit the local administration’s building, regional governor Oleg Sinegubov said. “This morning, the central square of our city and the headquarters of the Kharkiv administration was criminally attacked,” Sinegubov said in a video on Telegram.
Satellite images taken on Monday show a Russian military convoy north of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv that stretches for about 40 miles (64 km), substantially longer than the 17 miles (27 km) reported earlier in the day, a U.S. private company said, according to a Reuters report. Maxar Technologies also said additional ground forces deployments and ground attack helicopter units were seen in southern Belarus, less than 20 miles (32 km) north of the Ukraine border.
Sympathy shown by neighbouring countries
On Tuesday, Taiwan’s interior minister said that the government would allow Ukrainians to extend their stays on the island. According to Taiwan’s official Central News Agency, there would be no limits on the number of extensions granted. In a show of solidarity, many buildings in Taiwan were lit with blue and yellow resembling the Ukrainian flag.
Sanctioned imposed by Western nations against Russia
What sanctions are Western nations imposing?
The European Union, US, UK, and allies have agreed to remove selected Russian banks from the Swift messaging system, enabling the smooth transfer of money across borders.
The action aims to cut Russia off from the international financial system and “harm their ability to operate globally”. In addition, a ban from Swift will delay the payments Russia gets for exports of oil and gas.
The ban will also affect companies owed money by Russia – and disrupt some countries’ energy supplies.
Russia’s central bank:
Western leaders have agreed to freeze the assets of Russia’s central bank to limit its ability to access its $630bn international dollar reserves.
In coordination with the US and the EU, the UK government has also banned British people and businesses from making transactions with the Russian central bank, finance ministry, and wealth fund.
Russia central bank urges calm amid cash run fears
Targeting a central bank of a G20 nation is unprecedented and designed to “push the whole of Russia into as deep a recession as possible, with the added chaos of bank runs,” says BBC economics editor Faisal Islam.
Other financial measures:
All Russian central banks are being excluded from the UK financial system. This action would stop them from accessing sterling and clearing payments through the UK. In addition, all Russian banks will have their assets frozen.
It also announced laws to stop major Russian companies and the state from raising finance or borrowing money on UK markets and limiting the deposits Russians could make to UK bank accounts.
EU measures have been announced targeting 70% of the Russian banking market and key state-owned firms, including defence firms.
Exports to Russia:
The UK, EU, US, and other countries have announced curbs on products being sent to Russia. These include dual-use goods civilian and military use, like high-tech items, chemicals, or lasers.
The EU aims to make it impossible for Russia to upgrade its oil refineries with an export ban on certain materials. It is also banning the sale of aircraft and equipment to Russian airlines to damage its economy and connectivity.
Western governments have imposed sanctions on some individuals, including a “hit list” of influential, wealthy businessmen and women known as oligarchs.
Also targeted are Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose assets in the US, EU, UK, and Canada will be frozen and a travel ban imposed in the case of the US.
Ban On Russian Aircraft from American Airspace:
President Biden formally announced a ban on Russian aircraft from American airspace, broadening aviation restrictions as the West expanded sanctions over the war in Ukraine.
Latest move by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy:
In a dramatic move, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed an application Monday for Ukraine to join the European Union.
“Our goal is to stand alongside all Europeans and, most importantly, to stand on their level,” Zelenskyy said about Ukraine’s effort to join the E.U. in a speech Monday.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal tweeted a photo after Zelenskyy signed the document.