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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Russia-Ukraine crisis Highlights: Ukrainians flee embattled cities; US, UK step up pressure on Russia with oil imports ban

Russia Ukraine War News, Russia Ukraine Conflict Crisis News Highlights: Meanwhile, the number of refugees fleeing Ukraine reached 2 million on Tuesday, according to the United Nations, the fastest exodus Europe has seen since World War II.

By: Express Web Desk |
Updated: March 9, 2022 7:31:40 am
UkraineAn elderly woman is coated in snow as she sits in a wheelchair after being evacuated from Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv on Tuesday (AP photo)

Russia Ukraine War Crisis Highlights: Ukrainian civilians began leaving two besieged areas on Tuesday after Russia opened “humanitarian corridors” for them. Buses carried civilians out of the embattled cities even as reports of renewed Russian attacks on the port of Mariupol threatened to again derail the efforts. All Indian students stranded in the war-torn Ukrainian city of Sumy have been moved out and flights under Operation Ganga are being prepared to bring them back home, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has decided to ban Russian oil imports, toughening the toll on Russia’s economy in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine. Britain also said that it would phase out imports of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022, which it said would give the market and businesses more than enough time to find alternatives to the imports, which make up 8% of demand. Moreover, energy giant Shell said that it will stop buying Russian oil and natural gas and shut down its service stations, aviation fuels and other operations in the country amid international pressure for companies to sever ties over the invasion of Ukraine.

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The number of refugees fleeing Ukraine reached 2 million on Tuesday, according to the United Nations, the fastest exodus Europe has seen since World War II. “Today the outflow of refugees from Ukraine reaches two million people. Two million,” Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, wrote on Twitter.

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07:31 (IST)09 Mar 2022
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06:14 (IST)09 Mar 2022
Ukrainians fail in bid to oust Russians from Delhi group

Thirteen days into Russia’s invasion, echoes of the conflict are being heard far beyond the battlefields of Ukraine — in the diplomatic corridors of New Delhi. The Indian Express has learnt that the diplomatic defence corps of Ukraine in the national capital made a failed bid to “sanction” their Russian counterparts and keep them out of the Foreign Service Attaches and Adviser Association in India (FSAAA).

The FSAAA is described as a “private” association of defence attaches and diplomats handling defence matters, who are posted in New Delhi, and has members from 63 countries, including those in the European Union. There are seven Russian members accredited to the FSAAA and two Ukranians.  Members of the FSAAA told The Indian Express that last week, representatives of Ukraine, backed by the EU members, moved a request for the Russian members to be excluded from all affairs and events of the association. It is understood that the sensitive issue was taken up at a meeting of the FSAAA’s Executive Board two days ago, following which the defence attaches were informed that the move had been rejected. READ FULL REPORT

05:51 (IST)09 Mar 2022
What makes Ukraine a study destination for Indians and others

Over the last two decades, Ukraine has registered a phenomenal rise in the number of international students, and emerged as a major draw for students from India. Among all countries, India sends the highest number of international students to Ukraine, according to Ukrainian government figures. And among destinations of Indians studying abroad, Ukraine is one of the most favoured. According to data tabled by the Ministry of External Affairs in Parliament in June 2021, India had 18,000 Indian students enrolled in educational institutions in Ukraine, more than in Russia (16,500) and France (10,000). Among European countries, only Germany (20,801) has more Indian students than Ukraine, a trend also captured by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics data on mobility of students. READ FULL REPORT

05:50 (IST)09 Mar 2022
Last major Indian group exits Ukrainian city, heading home

After a harrowing two weeks, Indian students stranded in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Sumy have finally moved towards Poltava in the central part of the country, from where they will be taken in trains to Ukraine’s western border.

The last big group of Indians being evacuated from Ukraine, they will be flown home from one of the neighbouring countries in the next couple of days.

The government, in another advisory Tuesday, asked stranded Indians in Ukraine to make use of the humanitarian corridors as an announcement of the next such corridor is “uncertain”.

The evacuation from Sumy, announced by Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, was a challenging exercise given the volatile situation in the region near the Russian border. It came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and sought their support for safe and quick evacuation of Indians from Sumy. READ FULL REPORT

22:40 (IST)08 Mar 2022
Russia will never control all of Ukraine: Biden

US President Joe Biden said Tuesday that Russia would be unable to ever control all of Ukraine, vowing the war would "never be a victory" for President Vladimir Putin. (Reuters)

22:08 (IST)08 Mar 2022
UK to phase out Russian oil and oil products by end of 2022

Britain said on Tuesday it would phase out imports of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022, which it said would give the market and businesses more than enough time to find alternatives to the imports, which make up 8% of demand. "The government will also work with companies through a new Taskforce on Oil to support them to make use of this period in finding alternative supplies," Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said. (Reuters)

21:42 (IST)08 Mar 2022
CERN suspends Russia’s observer status

The international scientific laboratory that is home to the world’s largest atom smasher says it is suspending Russia’s observer status and halting any new collaboration with Russia or its institutions “until further notice.”

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, said its 23 member states — all European, plus Israel — condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine is one of seven associate member states, and Russia, like the United States, Japan and the European Union, has had observer status.

The CERN council made the decisions about Russia at a special meeting on Tuesday and expressed its support “to the many members of CERN’s Russian scientific community who reject this invasion.” (AP)

21:34 (IST)08 Mar 2022
EU to sanction more Russian oligarchs and Belarus banks, reports Reuters

The European Commission has prepared a new package of sanctions against Russia and Belarus over the invasion of Ukraine that will hit additional Russian oligarchs and politicians and three Belarusian banks, three sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

The draft sanctions were adopted by the EU executive on Tuesday morning and will be discussed by EU ambassadors at a meeting starting at 1400 GMT, one source said.

The draft package will ban three Belarusian banks from the SWIFT banking system and add several more oligarchs and Russian lawmakers to the EU blacklist, the sources told Reuters.

The package also bans exports from the EU of naval equipment and software to Russia and provides guidance on the monitoring of cryptocurrencies to avoid their use to circumvent EU sanctions, the sources said. (Reuters)

20:38 (IST)08 Mar 2022
Soldiers defending Ukraine's Odessa give flowers for Women's Day

They fear a Russian attack is imminent, but soldiers in Ukraine's Odessa took time to buy friends and family flowers for Women's Day on Tuesday even though life in the Black Sea port has been turned upside down.

"I bought flowers, oddly enough, for my mother-in-law and my wife to congratulate them on March 8," said Yuriy, a reservist in Ukraine's Territorial Defence forces, speaking by a street stall selling pots of brightly coloured hyacinths and cyclamen, and bunches of tulips. (Reuters)

20:35 (IST)08 Mar 2022
Zelenskyy denounces 'unkept promises' by the West

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denounces "unkept promises" by the West, saying that the responsibility for the casualties from Russia's ongoing invasion "rests also on those who were not capable to take a decision in the West for 13 days".

20:32 (IST)08 Mar 2022
People evacuate Irpin

People evacuate Irpin, in the outskirts of Kyiv. The governor of the region, which surrounds the capital, said Ukraine was making arrangements to get people out of the city, which has been cut off from electricity, water and heat for four days. (AP)

20:30 (IST)08 Mar 2022
Women escaping war in Ukraine handed flowers in Polish city

Women who escaped Russia's war in Ukraine are handed flowers in the Polish city of Przemysl on International Women's Day. The U.N. says the number of refugees who have fled Ukraine has reached 2 million. (AP)

20:28 (IST)08 Mar 2022
Ukraine crisis: MEA says all Indian students out of besieged Sumy

All Indian students stranded in the war-torn Ukrainian city of Sumy have been moved out and flights under Operation Ganga are being prepared to bring them back home, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Tuesday. Read more

19:24 (IST)08 Mar 2022
Biden to ban Russian oil imports over Ukraine war, reports AP

President Joe Biden has decided to ban Russian oil imports, toughening the toll on Russia’s economy in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The move follows pleas by Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelenskyy to U.S. and Western officials to cut off the imports, which had been a glaring omission the massive sanctions put in place on Russia over the invasion. Energy exports have kept a steady influx of cash flowing to Russia despite otherwise severe restrictions on its financial sector.

Biden was set to announce the move as soon as Tuesday, the person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter before an announcement. The White House said Biden would speak Tuesday morning to announce “actions to continue to hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked and unjustified war on Ukraine.” (AP)

18:32 (IST)08 Mar 2022
Russia targeting Ukraine's nuclear facilities, say observers

Russia is directly targeting Ukraine's nuclear facilities in a strategy to undermine Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion but the tactic carries grave risks, observers say. (AFP)

18:30 (IST)08 Mar 2022
Indian students in Ukraine's Sumy board buses to Poltava, hope to be in safe zone soon

Several Indian students stranded in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Sumy heaved a sigh of relief as their evacuation process started on Tuesday and hoped that they would be in a safe zone soon.

"The evacuation from Sumy has started. There was finally some good news on Tuesday. All Indian students will be evacuated from Sumy on Tuesday itself. They will be taken to a safe location from where they will be brought to India," said Anshad Ali, a student coordinator.

A medical student at the Sumy university, who did not wish to be identified, confirmed that buses have arrived and students have started boarding the buses. "We have been told that we will go to Poltava. I am praying that we reach a safe zone and this misery is over," he told PTI from Sumy.

Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri told reporters here that 694 Indian students, who were stranded in Sumy, left for Poltava in buses on Tuesday. "Last night, I checked with the control room, 694 Indian students were remaining in Sumy. Today, they have all left in buses for Poltava," he said. (PTI)

17:34 (IST)08 Mar 2022
Ukraine asks global businesses to suspend operations with Russia

Ukraine has requested the ethically and socially responsible global businesses to stop or suspend operations with or in Russia.

17:15 (IST)08 Mar 2022
All Indians have been evacuated from Sumy, reports ANI

A convoy consisting of 12 buses left from Sumy, Ukraine earlier today. All Indians there have been evacuated. (ANI)

16:58 (IST)08 Mar 2022
Russian air strike kills 21 civilians in Ukraine's Sumy city, say local authorities

At least 21 civilians, including two children, were killed in a Russian air strike on a residential street in Ukraine's northeastern city of Sumy late on Monday, the regional prosecutor's office said in a statement on Tuesday. The bodies were recovered by emergency services early on Tuesday in searches that are ongoing, it said. (Reuters)

16:46 (IST)08 Mar 2022
Shell says it will stop buying Russian oil

Energy giant Shell says it will stop buying Russian oil, natural gas and shut service stations in Russia, reports AP.

A factory and a store burn after having been bombarded in Irpin. (Photo: AP)

As the war in Ukraine enters the eleventh day, here's a look at our coverage of the Russia-Ukraine crisis:

Hoping for rescue ‘any minute’, Indian students wait in Sumy

Eleven days into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, India’s evacuation efforts have entered a critical stage with all eyes on the north-eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy, close to the Russian border, where about 700 Indians, mostly students, are waiting for rescue — the last big group from the country still stranded there. Officials said that a team from the Indian Embassy is stationed in Poltava, a city in central Ukraine, through which they hope to coordinate the safe passage of the students in Sumy to the western border. The students have been told to be ready to leave at short notice, they said.

German Ambassador: ‘Putin has made us open our eyes’

Germany is one of Russia’s closest partners in Europe and has deep historical, political and economic ties. With Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, Germany, which is dependent on Russia for its energy needs, has decided to reverse its seven-decade long policy of not supplying arms to conflict zones. Walter J Lindner talks about the Russian aggression on Ukraine, Germany’s lessons from history, putting pressure on Putin and the role of civil society. He was in conversation with Shubhajit Roy, Deputy Chief of National Bureau, The Indian Express.

Explained: War impact, beyond oil

The current Russian invasion of Ukraine — unlike previous wars in Iraq and Libya or sanctions against Iran — is having an impact not just on energy prices. The effects of shipping disruptions through the Black and Azov Seas, plus Russian banks being cut off from the international payments system, are extending even to the global agri-commodities markets. The reasons aren’t difficult to see: Russia is not only the world’s third biggest oil (after the US and Saudi Arabia) and the second biggest natural gas (after the US) producer, besides the No. 3 coal exporter (behind Australia and Indonesia). It is also the second largest exporter of wheat. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), in its most recent report on February 9, estimated the country’s shipments for 2021-22 (July-June) at 35 million tonnes (mt), next only to the 37.5 mt of the whole of European Union.

Behind India’s UN abstentions against Russia, a legacy of past policies

In the midst of the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine, India abstained from a United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC’s) resolution sponsored by the United States that deplores Russia’s actions in the strongest terms. Explaining its abstention, India’s permanent representative at the UN, T S Tirumurti said, “India is deeply disturbed by the recent turn of events in Ukraine.” “Dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and disputes, however daunting that may appear at the moment. It is a matter of regret that the path of diplomacy was given up. We must return to it. For all these reasons, India has chosen to abstain on this resolution,” said Tirumurti.

India’s abstention is being explained by experts as a balancing act of maintaining friends and partners of both sides. It is also a legacy of the Nehruvian foreign policy of non-alignment and the ways in which the two countries have interacted with each other in the United Nations.

The role of Belarus in the Russia-Ukraine war

Belarus, the largest landlocked European country bordering the two warring nations, has found itself in a precarious position amid its political proximity with Russia. The country is now at the receiving end of the West’s economic sanctions, meant to deter the Russian assault on Ukraine, despite restrictions already in place after the controversial election of its President, Alexander Lukashenko. The Belarusian border serves as the site for dialogue between Russia and Ukraine to possibly end the war. However, both the first and second rounds of talks have yielded no significant breakthrough. Historically, Belarus has acted as the site of negotiations between the two nations – two sets of agreements were signed in the Belarusian capital of Minsk in 2014 and 2015 to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

‘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 explaining the current situation in a chat with The Indian Express said: “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. In Russian political discourse, the thesis about the happenings in Ukraine in 2014 is, that the revolution in Ukraine as portrayed in the Western media, was actually a coup d’etat, and a forcible change of power. And this was supported by far-right groups. And a lot of these groups then fought in Donbass against Russians. So, President Volodymyr Zelensky was elected under the flag of peace. He was supported by those sections who supported the peaceful resolution of [the conflict in] Donbass.”

“But, Zelensky couldn’t find this resolution, and so he instead tried to balance his position between the far right and the more peaceful groups in Ukraine. And just a month and a half ago, he closed the last channel of peace in Ukraine, the pro-peace channel, so that’s why I think Putin called this a Nazi regime or a Nazi-supported regime,” he added.

India cancelled orders of Russian jets, weapons: US official

Underlining that it would be difficult for any country to continue buying military hardware from Russia after US sanctions in response to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday that in the “last few” weeks, “what we’ve seen from India…is the cancellation of MiG-29 orders, Russian helicopter orders and anti-tank weapon orders.” When contacted in New Delhi, a Defence Ministry spokesman declined to comment on Lu’s remarks. Lu, who called India a “really important security partner,” was speaking at the Senate hearing hours after the vote in the UN General Assembly on “Russian aggression”, from which India, along with 34 other countries including China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, abstained.

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