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Russian invasion of Ukraine Highlights: Indians evacuated from Ukraine via Bucharest, India abstains on UN vote, Zelenskyy calls Modi seeking support

Russia Ukraine Conflict Highlights: The Ukrainian health minister said on Saturday that 198 people have been killed and more than 1,000 others have been wounded till date.

Ukraine citizens, India Ukraine evacuation, Himachal Pradesh Ukraine evacuation, Indians Ukraine, air India, Bucharest, Indian Express, Indian Express newsAn 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.

The Russia-Ukraine Crisis |Follow Live Updates

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.”


Live Blog

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.

04:23 (IST)27 Feb 2022
Nations pledge to remove 'selected' Russian banks from SWIFT

The U.S., European Union, and United Kingdom agreed to block "selected" Russian banks from the SWIFT global financial messaging system and to impose "restrictive measures" on its central bank in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine.

The measures were announced jointly as part of a new round of financial sanctions meant to impose a severe cost on Russia for the invasion.

In Brussels, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said cutting several commercial banks from SWIFT "will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally." She said more banks could be hit "as appropriate." Von der Leyen said the EU would "commit to taking measures to limit the sale of citizenship — so-called golden passports — that let wealthy Russians connected to the Russian government become citizens of our countries and gain access to our financial systems." (AP)

03:21 (IST)27 Feb 2022
Air India's second evacuation flight from Bucharest lands in Delhi with 250 Indians from Ukraine

Air India's second evacuation flight from Romanian capital Bucharest carrying 250 Indian nationals who were stranded in Ukraine landed at the Delhi airport in the early hours of Sunday, government officials said.

India on Saturday began the evacuation of its stranded citizens amid the Russian military offensive in Ukraine, with the first evacuation flight, AI1944, bringing back 219 people from Bucharest to Mumbai in the evening.

The second evacuation flight, AI1942, carrying 250 Indian citizens landed at the Delhi airport around 2.45 am on Sunday, the officials said.

Air India's third evacuation flight, AI1940, which will depart from Hungarian capital Budapest, is also scheduled to return with evacuees to Delhi on Sunday, they said. (PTI)

03:03 (IST)27 Feb 2022
France to help Ukraine with defensive arms, fuel - Elysee

France will send defensive weapons and fuel to Ukraine, the French presidential office said on Saturday, adding that the country would also take action against Russian media and influencers spreading misinformation about the Ukraine war. (Reuters)

01:16 (IST)27 Feb 2022
Zelenskyy welcomes offers to moderate talks with Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is welcoming efforts to open talks with Russia.
In a video message Saturday, Zelenskyy said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev offered to help organise talks and that "we can only welcome that." Diplomatic efforts to end the bloodshed have so far faltered.
Zelenskyy offered Friday to negotiate a key Russian demand: that Ukraine declare itself neutral and abandon its ambition of joining NATO. But movement to actually advance any diplomacy has appeared to sputter. (AP)

00:53 (IST)27 Feb 2022
In Pic: Road Service employees dismantling signs to confuse Russian troops
00:43 (IST)27 Feb 2022
YouTube blocks RT, other Russian channels from generating revenue

Youtube on Saturday blocked Russian State-controlled international television network  RT and other  Russian channels from generating revenue amid the nation's continuing attack into Ukraine territory. 

00:39 (IST)27 Feb 2022
Watch: Video shared by an Indian student shows people waiting to cross over from Ukraine to Romania.
00:23 (IST)27 Feb 2022
Germany to send anti-tank weapons to Ukraine

The German government confirmed Saturday that it has approved the shipment of anti-tank weapons to Ukraine. According to reports, Germany will send 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 'Stinger' surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine. 

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23:56 (IST)26 Feb 2022
Karnataka govt to arrange connecting flights for students returning from Ukraine

The Karnataka government will arrange free connecting flights for the state's students from Ukraine arriving in the country to Bengaluru, Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya said.  A group of students from Karnataka landed in Mumbai from Romania on Saturday. A batch of 13 students will reach Delhi from Romania late at night and another 5 students from the state will reach the National Capital around 7 am tomorrow.

23:22 (IST)26 Feb 2022
More US military aid to arrive in Ukraine soon

A USD 350 million package of additional US military assistance to Ukraine announced Saturday includes "anti-armour, small arms and various munitions, body armour and related equipment," according to John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary. 
Separately, a senior defense official said the assistance includes Javelin anti-tank weapons and that it will be delivered to Ukraine in phases and as soon as possible. 
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning, said the U.S. has delivered military assistance to Ukraine by unspecified means as recently as the last couple of days, and that ground routes for delivery of the additional material "would certainly be on the list of options we would consider." (AP)

22:43 (IST)26 Feb 2022
Some Indian students return from Ukraine, others walk several kilometers in chilling temperature to seek evacuation

Around 50 students from Gujarat, evacuated from Chernivtsi in Ukraine, were among the 214 Indians who returned on the Air India evacuation flight to Mumbai from Bucharest in Romania.

Even as a second set of Indian nationals, comprising mainly students, departed from Bucharest to New Delhi on Saturday, several others who are still stranded in conflict areas of Ukraine have sent desperate appeals for rescue and walked several miles to arrive at the borders of the countries on the Western end of Ukraine to seek evacuation. The 50 students will arrive in Gujarat on state transport buses that have been sent from Surat, officials said. (ENS)

22:29 (IST)26 Feb 2022
Slovakia NATO unit to have 1,200 foreign troops, Patriot missile defence

A NATO battlegroup being formed for Slovakia in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine will include 1,200 foreign troops and a Patriot missile defence system manned by German and Dutch personnel, Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad said on Saturday.

NATO-member Slovakia shares a border with Ukraine and does not currently have foreign soldiers stationed on its territory. NATO, a Western military alliance, pledged to further reinforce its eastern flank after Russia attacked Ukraine this week.

Nad said Germany was providing the Patriot system.

"Germany will participate robustly," Nad said after a government meeting.

Slovakia will provide 300 soldiers to the NATO battlegroup, he said, taking its total size to 1,500. Slovakia was also in talks on providing troops for the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia, he said.

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was deploying elements of its rapid response force, which is made up of land, air, maritime and special operations forces, on allied territory. (Reuters)

22:27 (IST)26 Feb 2022
Russia closes its airspace for Romanian airliners

Russia closed its airspace for Romanian airliners "due to unfriendly decisions by Romanian aviation authorities", Russian federal aviation agency Rosaviatsiya said on Saturday.

Earlier Romania said it would ban Russian airlines from its airspace, joining other countries in central Europe doing the same after Russia invaded Ukraine. (Reuters)

22:23 (IST)26 Feb 2022
After pause, Russia resumes Ukraine offensive from all directions

All Russian units in Ukraine were on Saturday given the order to resume their offensive from all directions after a pause on Friday, the RIA news agency quoted Russia's defence ministry as saying.

Echoing similar comments by the Kremlin, the ministry said Friday's pause had been made in anticipation of talks between Moscow and Kyiv but the offensive resumed after Ukraine refused to negotiate. (Reuters)

22:20 (IST)26 Feb 2022
Ukraine returnees at Mumbai airport

Returnees from Ukraine who came on board the evacuation flight that landed in Mumbai (Express photos by Pradip Das)

21:18 (IST)26 Feb 2022
UK cancels Belarus basketball team's visas over Ukraine

Britain has cancelled visas for the Belarusian men's basketball team over their nation's support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, British interior minister Priti Patel said on Saturday.

"The UK will not welcome the national sports teams of those countries who are complicit in (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine," Home Secretary Patel said on Twitter. (Reuters)

21:16 (IST)26 Feb 2022
Capturing Kyiv remains Russia's primary objective: UK

The UK’s Ministry of Defence states that the overnight clashes in Kyiv “are likely to have involved limited numbers of pre-positioned sabotage groups”. It adds, “The capture of Kyiv remains Russia’s primary military objective.”

21:07 (IST)26 Feb 2022
Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in last 24 hours: US official

Russia has sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in the past 24 hours, says a senior US defence official.

20:58 (IST)26 Feb 2022
Watch: Comparison of military strengths of Russia and Ukraine

Comparing the military strengths of Russia and Ukraine

20:29 (IST)26 Feb 2022
Turkey 'yet to decide' on closing Black Sea access to Russian navy

Despite Zelenskyy’s earlier claim, Turkey has said it is yet to make a decision on closing its straits between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea to the Russian navy, The Guardian reported. According to Reuters, a Turkish official said it “has not made a decision to close the straits to Russian ships”.

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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First published on: 24-02-2022 at 07:25 IST
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