An Air India flight carrying people from Himachal Pradesh and other Indians stranded in the east European country. (Twitter/DrSJaishankar)
Russia Ukraine Highlights: The Russian army has been ordered to broaden its Ukraine advance “from all directions” after Ukraine said it had repulsed an attack on capital Kyiv but “sabotage groups” remained in the city. A defiant Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told citizens to defend the nation as he himself refused to leave Kyiv. Meanwhile, evacuation of Indians stranded in Ukraine, mostly students, continued as 219 people got off from the first flight that flew them home from Bucharest in Romania.
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Here’s a round-up of all top developments to date:
India abstains on UN vote against Russia: India’s abstention from the vote on the draft resolution with text “deploring in the strongest terms” Russia for its operations inside Ukraine was no surprise, given the fine balance Delhi has sought to strike between crucial partnerships with both Moscow and Western allies over the last month of the escalating crisis. With the abstention, India has managed to hold its balancing act for another day, despite the considerable pressures from the West to get off the fence, and an open call from the Russian envoy in Delhi for its support.
219 Indians evacuated from Ukraine: Beaming, elated and relieved, 219 Indians, mostly students studying medicine in Ukraine, stepped off the Air India aircraft that flew them home from Bucharest in Romania — the first batch of Indian nationals evacuated Saturday under Operation Ganga after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Union Minister Piyush Goyal, who was at Mumbai airport to receive those evacuated, said: “We are happy that 219 of our citizens who are mostly students, the majority of them girls, have come back safely.
Zelenskyy calls Modi, seeks support: Hours after India abstained during a vote Saturday on a US-sponsored UN Security Council resolution that deplored “in the strongest terms” Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has been leading the defence of Kyiv, spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought India’s “political support” at the UNSC. Modi, according to the Prime Minister’s Office, expressed “deep anguish” over the loss of life and property, and reiterated his call for “immediate cessation of violence” and return to dialogue.
‘World must do more to put pressure on Russia’: Explaining the current situation and what could be a way further, Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine poses unprecedented risks for the global system. It brings back the spectre of a major war to Europe. If the Ukrainians manage to resist, the war will be long drawn; if they don’t, the precedent of an important country of the size of Ukraine being reabsorbed will haunt Europe. Russian actions create more uncertainty in Great Power politics. Every country in the world will now start reassessing the gains and risks of economic interdependence. But if the crisis continues, everything from energy to fertilisers might be potentially affected.”
‘For us, Ukraine is the same as Pakistan for India’: Alexey Kupriyanov, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, while speaking with The Indian Express, said, “The Ukrainian issue has to be decided by compromise, not by incorporation. For us, Ukraine is the same as Pakistan for India. And so, we are going to have our peaceful Pakistan, and pro-Indian Pakistan on our border.”
Russia-Ukraine crisis: 198 killed in Russian invasion, says Ukraine; Fighting continues in streets of Kyiv; Russia vetoes UN resolution to halt attack; India, China, UAE abstain on UNSC resolution; US, Europe agree to freeze assets of Russia's Putin, Lavrov. Follow latest updates here.
With a military intervention in Ukraine off the table, and countries around the world looking to heap more financial punishment on Moscow, the United States, Britain and European Union said they will move to sanction Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Vladimir, 70, and his wife Tamara, 80, sit in the Kyiv subway, using it as a bomb shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine, February 24, 2022. (AP)
The Russian assault on Ukraine, anticipated for weeks by the West, amounts to Europe's largest ground conflict since World War II as Putin tries to restore Moscow's Cold War influence. It is unclear how much or little Russian forces have seized or the extent of the casualties.
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