Russian Roulette: the Game begins

On Thursday, 24th February, Russia ‘attacked’  certain targets  within  Ukaraine.

RUSSIAN troops launched their anticipated attack on Ukraine on Thursday, after President Vladimir Putin cast aside international condemnation and sanctions, warning other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to “consequences you have never seen”.

Putin said he ordered a special military operation to “protect” the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, citing the need to “demilitarize” the country and accused the US of crossing Russia’s “red line” by expanding NATO.

Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has confirmed Russia’s “full-scale invasion”, as the country imposed a state of emergency and told its citizens in Russia to leave immediately. The Ukrainian government has also announced compulsory military service for all men of the fighting age.

President Biden promised that “the world will hold Russia accountable” for what he described as an “unprovoked and unjustified attack” on Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated :“Russia has vilely attacked us” and that the country was “defending itself and will not give up its freedom, as they think in Moscow. For Ukrainians, their independence and right to live on their own land freely is the highest value.”

Pope Francis called on Christians around the world to fast and pray for peace in Eastern Europe this coming Ash Wednesday. By early Feb. 24, Russian forces had launched a series of attacks hitting several major Ukrainian cities with missiles and long-range artillery.

“Once again, the peace of all is threatened by partisan interests,” the pope said. “I would like to appeal to those with political responsibilities to do a serious examination of conscience before God, who is the God of peace and not of war, who is the father of all and not only of some, who wants us to be brothers and sisters and not enemies.”

In a statement, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, who heads of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, said Putin’s recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions has caused “irreparable damage” to international relations.

Investors are bracing for energy-related disruptions following the military offensive, which is expected to trigger sanctions on Russia that would disrupt the world economy, say the newspapers.

Most major Asian stock indexes fell about 3 percent, and markets in Europe dropped just as sharply. U.S. markets were shaky. Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones industrial average was down nearly 750 points, or 2.25 percent. The S&P 500 had declined 2.3 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 2.5 percent.

SEE ALSO  Hate Speech begins here!

Across the world, leaders responded  to condemn Russia’s actions and call for decisive action.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg condemned what he called Russia’s “reckless” attack on Ukraine, warning that it puts at risk “countless civilian lives.”

“This is a grave breach of international law, and a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security,” Stoltenberg said in a statement Thursday. “Despite our repeated warnings and tireless efforts to engage in diplomacy, Russia has chosen the path of aggression against a sovereign and independent country,” he said.

Meanwhile, European countries close to the conflict, such as  Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, began consultations under Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty — a provision that can be launched when “the territorial integrity, political independence” of any NATO country is threatened.

India expressed its deep concern over the developments, which, if not handled carefully, may well undermine the peace and security of the region.

India called for immediate de-escalation and refraining from any further action that could contribute to a worsening of the situation.

“We believe that the solution lies in sustained diplomatic dialogue between the concerned parties. In the meantime, we strongly emphasise the vital need for all sides to maintain international peace and security by exercising the utmost restraint ‘ India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti said.

Tirumurti also noted that some  20,000 Indian nationals, including students, are located in different parts of Ukraine, including in its border areas. We are facilitating the return of all Indian nationals, including Indian students, as required, he said.

India insisted that the legitimate security interests of all parties should be fully taken into account.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said there was “no justification” for Russia’s military actions in Ukraine.“This is a terrible day for Ukraine and a dark day for Europe,” he said.

President Emmanuel Macron said France “strongly condemns Russia’s decision to wage war on Ukraine.”  The Élysée Palace indicated  Macron had spoken to Ukrainian President Zelensky. “The President assured him of France’s full support and solidarity,” the statement said.

In Italy, Prime Minister Mario Draghi called the attack “unjustified and unjustifiable,” stating that his country was working with its European and NATO allies to respond “immediately.”

SEE ALSO  Rajasthan Cops caught in Gay Honey Trap Situation

The Italian Foreign Ministry summoned Russia’s ambassador to Italy, and condemned the “unprovoked aggression against Ukraine,” calling it “a violation of international law.”

Israel’s foreign minister Yair Lapid condemned Russia’s actions. He said Tel Aviv was “ready and prepared to provide humanitarian assistance to the citizens of Ukraine.”  He also said it wasn’t too late for more diplomacy between powers.

“Israel has deep, long-lasting, and good relations with Russia and with Ukraine,” he said. “There are tens of thousands of Israelis in both countries, and there are hundreds of thousands of Jews in both countries. Maintaining their security and safety is at the top of our considerations.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian  blamed NATO for the looming crisis. “The #Ukraine crisis is rooted in NATO’s provocations,” he tweeted. “Imperative to establish cease fire & to find a political and democratic resolution,” he said.

Zhang Jun, China’s ambassador to the United Nations, urged all parties to “exercise restraint and avoid further escalation. “We believe that the door to a peaceful solution to the Ukraine issue is not fully shut, nor should it be.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that “President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction” by launching an attack on Ukraine. Johnson said he had spoken to  Ukrainian President Zelensky. “The UK and our allies will respond decisively.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canada “condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s egregious attack on Ukraine.”  Russia’s “unprovoked actions” are in  violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and of Russia’s obligations under international law.

“Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected and the Ukrainian people must be free to determine their own future,” he said in a statement.

“As a responsible actor in the international community, South Korea supports and will join economic sanctions and other international efforts to deter the armed aggression and resolve the situation peacefully,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said.

President Sauli Niinisto of Finland said he strongly condemned the Russian attacks, describing them as an assault not just on Ukraine, but “on the entire European security order.”

He added that the leaders of Scandinavian countries including Sweden and Norway had spoken on and had “a shared view of the dangerous situation.”