At a discussion of the UN General Assembly on the prevailing crisis on the Ukraine borders, the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Wednesday said that beginning of a large-scale war would mark the “end of the world order”.
Earlier in the day, amid fears of a Russian invasion, Ukraine’s security council approved a plan to impose a state of emergency in the country. The council chief, Oleksiy Danilov, said he would present a report on the matter in Parliament.
Since early this year, Russia has amassed over one lakh troops at the Ukrainian border. Reports also said that 30,000 more troops are engaged in exercises in Belarus, close to its border with Ukraine. Both countries have been in conflict since 2014 when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and backed separatist rebellions in the country’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered troops to be deployed in eastern Ukraine, a day after Kremlin recognised the independence of separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk.
The Russian move led to sharp reactions from Western countries and many of them have imposed sanctions on Moscow.
Here are the top updates of the day:
10.54 pm: European Union sanctions against Russia come into effect, reports The Associated Press. The sanctions target senior Russian government officials, several companies and hundreds of lawmakers who voted in favour of recognising the independence of separatist parts of southeast Ukraine.
The sanctions mostly freeze the assets of these people and entities and imposes a ban on them for traveling in the European Union member countries.
10.52 pm: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says world facing ‘moment of peril’ as fear loomed over a war between Russia and Ukraine, reports AFP.
10.51 pm: Russia evacuates its officials from the Kyiv embassy and Ukraine mobilises its military reserves, reports AFP.
10.17 pm: Ukraine’s Digital Transformation Minister Mikhail Fedorov claims that cyberattacks are disrupting government websites, including that of Parliament, Cabinet and the foreign ministry, as well as some of the country’s banks, reports The Associated Press.
10.15 pm: Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio says sanctions against Russia must be “sustainable, proportional, gradual and directly linked to concrete and objective developments on the ground”, reports The Associated Press.
10.13 pm: European leaders are planning to hold an in-person emergency summit on Thursday in Brussels to discuss the Russia-Ukraine crisis, reports The Associated Press.
10.09 pm: Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki says that sanctions on Moscow after Russia’s annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 were too soft, reports The Associated Press.
President Andrzej Duda says that he believes the crisis can be handled through peaceful means but adds that he is “aware that the sanctions will have to be very tough”.
9.22 pm: Ukraine Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba urges United Nations General Assembly to stop Russian invasion, reports ANI.
“It is clear that President [Vladimir] Putin will not stop by himself,” says Kuleba. “The beginning of a large scale war in Ukraine will be the end of the world order as we know.”
9.15 pm: Ukraine Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba tells the United Nations General Assembly that the country wants to live in “peace and solidarity”, reports ANI.
“The world should not repeat mistakes of the past,” Kuleba says. “I believe in the power of free world and our joint ability to avert a new devastating catastrophe in Europe.”
9.11 pm: The United Nations General Assembly discusses “the situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine”.
8.55 pm: In a video statement, Russian President Vladimir Putin, says without making a direct reference to Ukraine, that the “difficult international situation” is evident, reports Reuters.
“We can see…the threats posed by current challenges, such as the erosion of the arms control system and NATO’s [North Atlantic Treaty Organisation] military activities,” the report quotes Putin as saying.
8.08 pm: Russia is evacuating its embassy in Kyiv a day after its foreign ministry announced the plan in view of “threats”, reports The Associated Press. The Russian flag appeared to have been taken down from the embassy. Ukraine, too, has told its citizens to leave Russia “immediately” and has warned against travel to the neighbouring country.
7.22 pm: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says it is not possible for his country to “give up on either” Russia or Ukraine, reports The Associated Press.
“We have economic, military and economic ties with Russia,” Erdogan says. “We also have political, military and economic ties with Ukraine. Our aim is to take such a step that we can solve this problem without having to give up on neither of them.”
7.19 pm: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky says that the “future of European security” was being decided in his country, reports AFP.
7.18 pm: Russia foreign ministry says the new sanctions imposed by the United States will meet “strong response”, reports AFP.
7.13 pm: Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi says that the ministry has been contacting Indian students and other people abroad, especially in Ukraine, reports ANI. She adds that they should stay in touch with the Indian embassy, which will help them out.
5.38 pm: Amid fears of a Russian invasion, Ukraine’s security council has approved a plan to introduce a state of emergency, reports AFP.
Ukraine’s security council chief Oleksiy Danilov says he would present a report to Parliament later on Wednesday. The parliamentarians are expected to approve the added security measures within this week.
5.35 pm: China accuses the United States of creating “fear and panic” on the Russia-Ukraine crisis, reports Associated Press. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying says that China opposes new sanctions on Russia. She accuses the US of fuelling tensions by providing weapons to Ukraine.
5.30 pm: Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urges its allies to impose more sanctions on Russia to stop it from “further aggression”.
“First decisive steps were taken yesterday, and we are grateful for them,” he tweets. “Now the pressure needs to step up to stop Putin. Hit his economy and cronies. Hit more. Hit hard. Hit now.”
5.25 pm: The United Kingdom government warns Russia that it is ready to escalate sanctions if it invaded Ukraine, reports PTI. The government says it can “keep turning up the heat” by targeting more banks, wealthy individuals and key companies if President Vladimir Putin refuses to pull back troops from eastern Ukraine.
5.20 pm: Pope Francis urges all sides involved in the Russia-Ukraine dispute to examine their consciences and pull back from threats of war, reports The Associated Press.
“Once again, the peace of everyone is threatened by vested interests,” he says.
5.17 pm: Ukrainian military issues order to mobilise reservists after Russia ordered its forces to prepare to secure rebel-held areas in the country’s east, reports AFP.
“Reservists aged 18 to 60 will be called up, the call will start today [Wednesday],” the military says. “The maximum service life is one year.”
5.17 pm: Russia deploys new troops at multiple places along its border with Ukraine, reports NDTV, citing satellite imagery by United States-based space technology company Maxar. Some equipment and troops have reportedly been stationed near the Russian town of Belgorod, less than 20 kilometres from the Ukraine border.
5.15 pm: Russia is prepared to look for “diplomatic solutions” to solve the tensions with Ukraine, but its interests are non-negotiable, President Vladimir Putin says, reports AFP.
“Our country is always open for direct and honest dialogue, for the search for diplomatic solutions to the most complex problem,” he says during a a speech on the occasion of the Defender of the Fatherland Day, which is a public holiday in Russia.
5.07 pm: United States President Joe Biden punishes Russia with wide-ranging sanctions, calling Moscow’s recognition of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent the “beginning of a Russian invasion” of its neighbour.
5.03 pm: Roman Babushkin, the Russian Embassy’s deputy chief of mission in Delhi, hopes for relationship with India to continue as before, reports The Times of India.
“We have a lot of big projects in the pipeline and we have full confidence that all our plans will be successfully implemented,” he says.