Russia-Ukraine crisis LIVE news updates: Australia sanctions top Russian officials for ‘unprovoked’ Ukrai… – Economic Times

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Economic Times | 23 Feb, 2022 | 09.43AM IST

latest daily news and updates february 23

Australia announced sanctions on eight of President Vladimir Putin’s top security advisors on Wednesday following Russia’s “unwarranted, unprovoked, unacceptable” invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Tony Blinken on Tuesday also cancelled his scheduled meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov later this week in protest against what he said was the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On the other hand, Japan also imposed sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine, including prohibiting the issuance of Russian bonds in Japan and freezing the assets of certain Russian individuals, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced on Wednesday. Kishida, who also called on Russia to return to diplomatic discussions, said he did not see a significant impact on energy supplies in the short term from the current situation and said further steps would be considered should the situation worsen. In another development, Canada will deploy up to 460 additional troops to Eastern Europe amid escalating tensions following Russia’s recognition of the breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. “Today, I am authorizing a deployment of up to 460 members of the Canadian Armed Forces to Operation Reassurance,” Trudeau told a news conference on Tuesday.

Big developments on Russia-Ukraine crisis:

  • The White House said on Tuesday the development of Nord Stream 2 is “not moving forward at this point in time” after steps by Germany to halt the Baltic Sea gas pipeline project.
  • Australia announced sanctions on eight of President Vladimir Putin’s top security advisors on Wednesday following Russia’s “unwarranted, unprovoked, unacceptable” invasion of Ukraine.
  • US Secretary of State Tony Blinken on Tuesday cancelled his scheduled meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov later this week in protest against what he said was the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • Japan is imposing sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine, including prohibiting the issuance of Russian bonds in Japan and freezing the assets of certain Russian individuals, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday.
  • US President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced what he called the “first tranche” of sanctions against Russia, including steps to starve the country of financing, saying Moscow had started an invasion of Ukraine.
  • Meanwhile, Russia’s upper house of parliament unanimously voted on Tuesday to approve a request by President Vladimir Putin to deploy Russia’s armed forces abroad for what it described as a peacekeeping mission in two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine.
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his country is putting the certifying process for the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia on hold in reaction to Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.

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Russia to evacuate diplomats from Ukraine soon, citing threats

  • The Russian Foreign Ministry said that it has decided to evacuate Russian diplomatic personnel from Ukraine, pointing at threats.
  • The ministry said Tuesday that Russian diplomats in Ukraine have received multiple threats, adding that they will be evacuated “in the nearest time.” It did not elaborate.
  • The move follows Russia’s recognition of Ukraine’s rebel regions and the Russian parliament’s vote to grant President Vladimir Putin a permission to use military force in Ukraine.
  • The Ukrainian capital of Kyiv is only a three hour drive from the border of Belarus, where Russia has stationed troops for earlier war games.

India’s Kyiv embassy advisory provides details on Ukraine-India flights

  • The advisory further listed the available flights from Kyiv to New Delhi with the booking procedure. A total of four flights are scheduled to depart between February 25 and March 6. Scheduled flights of Air Arabia, Fly Dubai, Qatar Airways, etc are continuing to operate their routine flights from Ukraine to India.

Most Asian markets rise after Russia sanctions but nerves on edge

  • Equities mostly rose Wednesday and oil prices stabilised as investors tracked developments in the Russia-Ukraine crisis after world powers imposed less harsh sanctions on Moscow than feared.
  • However, trading floors remain on edge after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces into Ukraine to secure the self-declared Donetsk and Lugansk rebel republics, with Western leaders warning that a war could break out imminently.
  • Global markets have been in turmoil since the move this week, with oil soaring towards the $100 mark not seen since 2014 and other commodities also hitting multi-year highs.

Ukraine crisis: Is there still room for diplomacy?

  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he has canceled plans to meet his Russian counterpart in Geneva later this week.
  • Blinken told reporters on Tuesday that Russia’s actions indicated Moscow was not serious about a diplomatic path to resolving the crisis. As a result, he said, he had called off his Thursday meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
  • Echoing President Joe Biden, Blinken said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognize the independence of two separatist republics in Ukraine’s Donbas region was a violation of international law. And, he said the placement of Russian troops there constituted the beginning of an invasion.
  • Although he held out hope for a peaceful resolution through diplomacy, Blinken said he did not believe a meeting with Lavrov would be productive at this time.
  • Biden and Putin had tentatively agreed earlier to a meeting brokered by French President Emmanuel Macron in a last-ditch effort to avoid war, but its prospects were unclear given the latest developments. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “it’s premature to talk about specific plans for a summit.”

G7 foreign ministers condemn Russia

  • Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has chaired a call of the G-7 nations in which ministers strongly condemned Russia’s recognition of the separatist-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine and the decision to deploy Russian troops there.
  • Those involved included the foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S., along with the European Union.
  • The German foreign ministry said Tuesday night that the G-7 foreign ministers agreed to step up restrictive measures responding to Russia’s actions and reiterated their unwavering commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.

World facing biggest security crisis in recent years, says UN chief on Russia-Ukraine tensions

  • Terming the Ukraine situation as the “biggest global peace and security crisis” in recent years, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the latest developments in Ukraine are testing the entire international system.
  • “We face a moment that I sincerely hoped would not come,” he said at a media stakeout on Tuesday, adding “we must pass this test.”

Australia sanctions top Russian officials for ‘unprovoked’ Ukraine invasion

  • Australia announced sanctions on eight of President Vladimir Putin’s top security advisors on Wednesday following Russia’s “unwarranted, unprovoked, unacceptable” invasion of Ukraine.
  • Pillorying Putin’s decision to order troops into breakaway Kremlin-backed statelets in Ukraine’s east, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a suite of sanctions that closely echoed moves from other US allies.
  • Eight members of Russia’s security council will face sanctions, including travel bans, and Australia will move to target military-linked Russian banks.

242 Indian students evacuated safely to Delhi amid Ukraine-Russia tensions

  • Amid the escalating Russia-Ukraine tensions, 242 Indian students returned safely to India at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport late Tuesday evening and reunited with their parents after India started evacuation operations of Indian citizens living in Ukraine and its adjoining areas.
  • India has deployed Dreamliner B-787 aircraft for carrying out this special operation under which flights were made operational from Kharkiv in Ukraine to New Delhi.

Taiwan says must raise alertness over Ukraine crisis

  • Taiwan’s security and armed forces must increase their surveillance and alertness on military activities in the region, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Wednesday during a meeting to discuss the Ukraine crisis.
  • Taiwan and Ukraine are fundamentally different in terms of geostrategic, geographical environment and importance of international supply chains, but government units must tackle possible “cognitive warfare” and misinformation by foreign forces, Tsai’s office cited her as saying.

Beginning of Russian invasion, says US Secretary of State Blinken; cancels meeting with Lavrov

  • US Secretary of State Tony Blinken on Tuesday cancelled his scheduled meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov later this week in protest against what he said was the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

NATO’s take on Russian moves

  • NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says Russia is taking military action against Ukraine and he condemned Moscow’s decision to recognize separatist areas of southeast Ukraine as independent.
  • “Moscow has now moved from covert attempts to destabilize Ukraine to overt military action,” Stoltenberg told reporters Tuesday.
  • Asked whether Russia’s actions constitute an invasion, he said: “Russia has already invaded Ukraine, they invaded Ukraine back in 2014,” when Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula. He added that “what we see now is that a country that is already invaded is suffering further invasion.”
  • Stoltenberg said NATO allies have more than 100 jet planes on high alert and more than 120 warships ready at sea from the high north to the Mediterranean Sea.

What is Ukraine’s response?

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sought to project calm, telling the country in an address overnight: “We are not afraid of anyone or anything.”
  • Zelenskyy said Tuesday he was calling up some of the country’s military reservists, but added there was no need for a full military mobilization.
  • Protesters, some draped in Ukrainian flags, gathered outside the Russian Embassy in Kyiv. One held up a sign that read: “We choose Europe not Russia.”

Japan imposes sanctions on Russia over actions in Ukraine

  • Japan is imposing sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine, including prohibiting the issuance of Russian bonds in Japan and freezing the assets of certain Russian individuals, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday.
  • Kishida, who also called on Russia to return to diplomatic discussions, said he did not see a significant impact on energy supplies in the short term from the current situation and said further steps would be considered should the situation worsen.

Watch | Air India special flight carrying around 242 passengers from Ukraine reaches Delhi

#WATCH | Air India special flight carrying around 242 passengers from Ukraine reaches Delhi https://t.co/ctuW0sA7UY

— ANI (@ANI) 1645554684000

U.S. sanctions on Russia not targeting energy markets: US State Department official

  • Actions the Biden administration took on Tuesday to punish Russia’s economy over its aggression in Ukraine are not intended to hit global energy markets, a senior U.S. State Department official said.
  • “The sanctions that are being imposed today as well that could be imposed in the near future, are not targeting and will not target oil and gas flows,” said the official, who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity. “We would like the market to take note that there’s no need for increasing the price at the moment.”

Biden, Putin signal bigger confrontation ahead over Ukraine

  • The East-West faceoff over Ukraine escalated dramatically Tuesday, with Russian lawmakers authorizing President Vladimir Putin to use military force outside his country and U.S. President Joe Biden and European leaders responding by slapping sanctions on Russian oligarchs and banks.
  • Both leaders signaled that an even bigger confrontation could lie ahead. Putin has yet to unleash the force of the 150,000 troops massed on three sides of Ukraine, while Biden held back on even tougher sanctions that could cause economic turmoil for Russia but said they would go ahead if there is further aggression.
  • The measures, accompanied by the repositioning of additional U.S. troops to the Baltic nations on NATO’s eastern flank bordering Russia, came as Russian forces rolled into rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine after Putin said he was recognizing the independence of the separatist regions in defiance of U.S. and European demands.

Washington targets Russian debt in sanctions sweep

  • The U.S. government broadened restrictions on trading of Russian government debt on Tuesday in a bid to punish Moscow for ratcheting up its conflict with Ukraine, a move that analysts said might have a moderate impact near-term but could be a step toward harsher measures.
  • The U.S. Treasury said it was prohibiting participation in the secondary market for bonds issued after March 1.
  • The increased restrictions on dealings in Russia’s sovereign debt are aimed at “further cutting Russia off from sources of revenue to fund its government or President Putin’s priorities, including his further invasion into Ukraine,” it said in a statement.
  • The new restrictions followed Russia ordering troops into separatist regions of eastern Ukraine. Western countries have threatened to go further if Moscow launches an all-out invasion of its neighbor.

Russia has done everything to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine by fighting for the implementation of 2015 Minsk agreement, but all the efforts ended up in vain, Putin said on Monday. The security crisis occurred due to NATO’s eastward expansion, which has led to the loss of mutual trust with Russia, he added.

I have authorized additional movements of US forces and equipment, already stationed in Europe, to strengthen our Baltic allies, says Biden.

Biden meets with Ukraine FM to “reaffirm” support, says White House.

Pentagon chief calls on Putin to avoid full-blown “war of choice”: Reuters

If Russia further invades Ukraine, the Biden administration could deprive it of a vast swath of low- and high-tech U.S. and foreign-made goods, from commercial electronics and computers to semiconductors and aircraft parts, sources told Reuters.