Centre bans wheat export with immediate effect

New Delhi [India]- The Centre has amended the Export policy of wheat by putting its export under the “prohibited” category.

The order that was rolled out by the Ministry of Commerce late Friday night stated that the government has banned the wheat exports with “immediate effect”.
The government said that the move is being made to manage the overall food security of the country and to the needs of the neighbouring and other vulnerable countries.

“There is a sudden spike in the global prices of wheat arising out of many factors, as a result of which the food security of India, neighbouring and other vulnerable countries is at risk,” said the Ministry in its notification.

However, the export will be allowed in case of shipments where an irrevocable letter of credit is issued on or before the date of notification.

The export will be allowed on basis of permission granted by the government of India to other countries to meet their food security needs and based on the request of the governments. (ANI)

German President holds talks with Zelenskyy after diplomatic scandal: Reports

Berlin [Germany]:  German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier held a phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, during which the counterparts discussed “misunderstandings of the past,” media reported on Thursday, citing the German president’s office.

It was a first phone conversation between the presidents since a series of political and diplomatic scandals broke out between Berlin and Kiev after the Ukrainian authorities refused Steinmeier a visit in April. After that, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that he was not yet planning visits to Ukraine.
Steinmeier and Zelenskyy discussed “misunderstandings of the past” during the conversation, and Zelenskyy personally invited Scholz and the entire German leadership to visit Kiev, the DPA news agency said.

According to Spiegel, the conversation lasted 45 minutes, and Steinmeier assured Zelenskyy of Germany’s full support for Ukraine. (ANI/Sputnik)


Ukraine crisis, a lesson for US to prepare for Chinese invasion of Taiwan

Washington [US]: The Ukraine-Russia conflict has become a guide for the United States to prepare a strategy to defend Taiwan against a possible attack by China, according to an analysis.

The US military has in a report on the strategic assessment of the Ukraine crisis detailed the need to prepare a strategy on how to defend Taiwan in case of a possible attack by China, air superiority is the deciding factor in defence against the Chinese forces.
Notably, the US did not agree to the Ukrainian request for enforcing a no-fly zone over its air space as that would have brought it into direct combat with Russia. However, Taiwan is not Ukraine as it is in a far more vulnerable position, The Hong Kong Post reported citing a military analysis website DefenseOne.

“No matter what other idea guides the defense of the island republic, air superiority will be critical. Washington and Taipei must prepare now to ensure this air superiority….planning for Taiwan’s air defense must be grounded in hard truth, the media outlet quoted the website as saying.

However, according to American military experts, Taiwanese airspace is “much more difficult to defend” than that of Ukraine as Taiwan is separated from US bases by thousands of miles of open Pacific waters and the closest supply routes are through “the Philippine Sea, south along the Ryukyus, or north from Luzon” and all these regions are beyond Taiwanese territory and its Exclusive Economic Zone.

Thus, approving a no-fly war zone over Taiwan means a large territory beyond the island of Taiwan will need to be defended. However, Seth Cropsey, a naval officer and former US Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy, has come up with a four-point strategy that is being discussed within the military circles.

According to this strategy, the US must ensure its naval and aerial superiority in the Ryukyu archipelago which can be turned into an anti-air nest, packed with forward-deployed US Marines and Air Defense Artillery. Further, the US should have an “integrated air defense network” to protect Taiwan from Chinese “missile bombardment”.

The US should also obtain more tanker aircraft as a “no-fly zone would require air combat over Taiwan and near the Taiwan Strait which is extremely close to Chinese territory. Lastly, the US must begin the fight with a significant numerical advantage as according to the naval officer, the fight will boil down to numerical superiority of either force.

In a comparison of the Russia-Ukraine situation to that of China-Taiwan, Cropsey laments US’ casual attitude toward Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attacks on the other Black Sea targets.

“Had we (Americans) taken more seriously (Vladimir) Putin’s attacks on such other Black Sea targets as Georgia and Crimea and acted with greater resolve years ago to help Ukraine defend itself, war might have been averted. Xi Jinping and his predecessors’ declared intent to subdue Taiwan–if needed, by force–is clear as blue skies. Those skies must be defended over Taiwan if the US is to remain the Pacific’s pre-eminent power and our friends and allies in the region are to continue casting their lot with us,” the media outlet quoted him as saying. (ANI)


Switzerland aligns with new EU sanctions on Russia that ban coal, caviar

Bern [Switzerland]: Switzerland adopted on Wednesday a fifth package of EU sanctions against Russia that ban import of caviar, seafood, coal, timber and cement in a bid to punish Russia for a military operation in Ukraine.

“This implements the Federal Council’s decision of 13 April to adopt the EU’s latest package of sanctions. The measures come into force at 6pm on 27 April 2022,” the Swiss government said in a statement.
The new measures ban export of industrial robots, certain chemical products and other goods that can help strengthen Russia’s industrial capacities.

An exemption will be made for export of military-grade equipment that protects from nuclear, biological or chemical hazards, under a request from the UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

In the financial sector, Switzerland prohibited support for Russian entities in public ownership and registration of trusts for Russian nationals or residents.

The Council also extended the ban on export of banknotes and sales of securities in Swiss francs and euros to Belarusian nationals and entities to cover all official EU currencies. The same measure is planned for Russia. (ANI/Sputnik)


Biden to visit S Korea, Japan next month for talks on trade, security

Washington [US]: US President Joe Biden will visit South Korea and Japan from May 20 to May 24 for bilateral discussions on trade and security matters, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a press release.

“President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will visit the Republic of Korea and Japan from May 20-May 24 to further deepen ties between our governments, economies, and people,” Psaki said on Wednesday.
Biden will have bilateral meetings with newly-elected South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, the release said. Biden will discuss with each leader ways to bolster security and economic ties, the release added.

Biden, while in Tokyo, will also meet with the leaders of the Quad group consisting of Australia, Japan, and India, according to the release.

More details about the Biden’s trip will be shared by the White House soon, the release said.


Russian forces start battle for Donbas but we will fight till end : Zelenskyy

Kyiv [Ukraine]:  Russian forces have started the battle for Donbas, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said in a video address, adding that Kyiv will defend itself.

“Russian forces have started the battle for Donbas for which they’ve been preparing for a long time and a considerable amount of the Russian forces are concentrated and focused on that offensive,” Zelensky said, according to CNN.
“No matter how many Russian servicemen they’re bringing into that area, we will keep on fighting and defending and we will be doing this daily. We will not give up anything that is Ukrainian but we don’t need anything that is not ours,” Zelenskyy added.

According to Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Russian forces had launched an effort to break through Ukrainian front lines in three regions.

Today, almost along the entire front line of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kharkiv regions, the occupiers tried to break through our defenses,” he said in remarks on television, CNN reported.

“Fortunately, our military is holding on, and only in two cities they (the Russians) have passed: Kreminna and another small town. But the fighting continues, we are not surrendering our territories and the attempt to start an active phase has begun this morning,” he said.

Meanwhile, the US has sent four planes loaded with security assistance to Ukraine over the weekend and made one more delivery on Monday.

“There were four planes that arrived of military assistance over the course of the weekend, another one is supposed to arrive today if it hasn’t already from the USD 800 million package the President announced,” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said during a press briefing today.

Moreover, the US Department of Defense said that America wants to see Ukraine as a winner in a fight against Russia, and Pentagon is doing everything possible to do that.

“We want Ukraine to win this fight (with Russia) and we are doing everything we can here, at the Department of Defense, to make sure they have the capabilities to do that,” US Department of Defense press secretary John Kirby told CNN, as per Sputnik.

On February 24, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine after the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk requested help to defend them from intensifying attacks by Ukrainian troops. (ANI)



French President intends to hold talks with Zelenskyy and Putin

Paris [France]: French President Emmanuel Macron intends to hold talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and possibly with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the coming days.

“I will again hold phone conversations with President Zelenskyy and, if necessary, with President Putin over the coming days,” Macron said on air of the France 2 broadcaster.
Another round of Russian-Ukrainian negotiations was held in Istanbul on March 29. Following the talks, Russian chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky said that the talks were constructive, with Moscow following up with an announcement that it will scale down its military activities in the Kiev and Chernihiv regions. Medinsky also said that Kiev demonstrated its will to adopt neutral status under a system of security guarantees from Germany, Canada, Poland, Israel and Turkey, as well as the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, including Russia.

On February 24, Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine after the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk appealed for help in defending themselves against Ukrainian forces. In response, the US and the EU rolled out a comprehensive sanctions campaign against Moscow, which includes airspace closures and restrictive measures targeting numerous Russian officials and entities, media and financial institutions. (ANI/Sputnik)


Russia-Ukraine war: Facebook, Instagram unblock hashtags to Bucha killings

Washington [US]: Meta-owned Facebook app and Instagram on Monday unblocked hashtags for Bucha killings, outside Kyiv in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

The social media site had briefly blocked the hashtags owing to its automated system of blocking violent content.
Meta spokesman Andy Stone said automated systems that scan for violent imagery on Facebook and Instagram, which the company also owns, were responsible for blocking hashtags including #bucha and #buchamassacre.

“This happened automatically because of the graphic content people posted using these hashtags. When we were made aware of the issue yesterday, we acted quickly to unblock the hashtags,” he wrote on Twitter.

The Bucha killings have drawn pledges of further sanctions against Moscow from the West. However, Russia denied to the killings and said that it was Ukrainian propaganda.

New satellite images from Maxar Technologies show the bodies of dead civilians in Bucha had been laying in the street for weeks, including when the town was under Russian control.

The New York Times first published the images on Monday.

A disturbing video showing the bodies in Bucha was geolocated, authenticated and reported on by CNN on Friday. It came to light the same day Ukraine declared the town liberated from Russian troops.

In response to the footage of Bucha on Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed the video was “fake” and “staged.” It said the video, photos, and allegations of war crimes were “another provocation.”

“During the time the settlement was under the control of the Russian armed forces, not a single local resident suffered from any violent actions,” the ministry said. (ANI)

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov arrives in India amid western sanctions

Moscow [Russia]: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in New Delhi on Thursday. It is the first high-level visit from Russia since the Ukraine crisis that triggered sanctions by western countries.

Russian leaders and elites are facing western sanctions, including an asset freeze and travel ban, over the country’s invasion of Ukraine last month.
The US in coordination with the EU and the G7 has imposed sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin, key members of his government and members of his inner circle and over 400 Russian elites considered close to Kremlin. Over 325 members of the Duma have also been targeted with sanctions.

A ban on the export of dual-use goods has been imposed against Russia by the UK, EU and US. Russian flights have been banned by US, UK, EU and Canada. The UK has also banned private jets chartered by Russians.

The EU has imposed a ban on luxury goods exports to Russia and the UK too has decided to do so. The US has banned Russian oil and gas imports. The UK is planning to end Russian oil imports by the end of this year and the EU also plans to switch to alternative supplies.

Western countries have frozen the assets of Russia’s central bank. Russia has hit back by imposing export bans on a range of products until the end of this year. It has closed its airspace to flights from several countries.

Putin is also the head of Russia’s Security Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces, and his assets as those of Lavrov are also being frozen in the US, EU, UK and Canada.

US Treasury Department targeted Putin while announcing the sanctions.

“No one individual is more responsible for Russia’s war against Ukraine, destabilization of Russia’s neighbours, the suffering of the Ukrainian people, and years of Russian malign activities globally,” the US Treasury Department had said in a release.

Putin has said he will make “unfriendly” nations pay for their imports of Russian gas in roubles to push up the value of the currency.

Lavrov, who is also a permanent member of Russia’s Security Council, is a key Russian face in the international forums.

Targeting Lavrov, the US State Department had said that as Foreign Minister he “has advanced the false narrative that Ukraine is the aggressor as he has aggressively sought to justify Russia’s actions globally”.

Lavrov’s ‘step-daughter’, Polina Kovaleva who reportedly owns a UKD 4 million property in London was also recently sanctioned by the UK government.

Here are some other Russians against whom sanctions have been imposed by western countries.

Aleksandr Bortnikov is the Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation and a permanent member of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also imposed sanctions on his son Denis Bortnikov for being associated with the Russian government.

Igor Sechin is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chairman of the Management Board, and Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of Rosneft, one of the world’s largest publicly traded oil companies.

Sergei Naryshkin is the director of the Foreign Intelligence Service. Naryshkin was previously blacklisted by the Obama administration for his role in the takeover of the Crimean Peninsula by the Russian forces in 2014.

Dmitry Peskov is Putin’s Press Secretary. The US Department of Treasury accused him of being the “lead propagandist” and spokesperson of the Russian Federation while sanctioning him. Sanctions were also imposed on three of Peskov’s family members, “all of whom live luxurious lifestyles that are incongruous with Peskov’s civil servant salary and are likely built on the ill-gotten wealth of Peskov’s connections to Putin,” according to the US Department of Treasury.

The list of the sanctioned Russian high-profile individuals includes several oligarchs like Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and heads of Russia’s premier banks including Sberbank CEO Herman Gref. (ANI)

Zelenskyy urges new sanctions against Russia in address to Australian parliament

Washington [US]: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for further sanctions on Russia during a virtual address to the Australian parliament on Thursday, according to media report.

“The distance between our country is big,” said Zelenskyy, adding “but there is no such thing as distance to Russians’ brutality to our Ukrainian land.”
Zelenskyy warned of great implications to global security if Russia isn’t stopped and also spoke about what will come after the war, calling on nations and companies to invest in the restoration of Ukraine, CNN reported.

He specifically spoke about the development of ports and cities on the Black Sea and rebuilding the naval sector.

Meanwhile, an evacuation corridor had been agreed with the Russians for the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, Ukrainian officials said Thursday.

The Ukrainian side received a message through the International Committee of the Red Cross confirming Russian readiness to open a “humanitarian corridor” from Mariupol through the city of Berdiansk, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a statement on Telegram.

Earlier on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden held talks with Zelenskyy where the Ukrainian President updated his counterpart on the status of Kyiv’s negotiations with Moscow.

“President Biden spoke with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine today at 10:45 AM EDT to discuss US continued support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression. President Biden’s Call with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy was convened at 11:08 EDT. President Biden’s secure call with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy was completed at 12:03 PM EDT.” as per the White House Press Office.

Notably, Russia launched its invasion last month after recognizing the Ukrainian breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as “independent republics.” Russia has since continued to maintain that the aim of its operations has been to “demilitarize” and “de-nazify” the country.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many Western nations and European countries have imposed tough sanctions on Russia targeting its economy and financial system. (ANI)


Russian delegation arrives in Istanbul for peace talks with Ukraine

Istanbul [Turkey]: The Russian delegation has arrived in Turkey’s largest city Istanbul on Monday for a fresh round of peace talks with Ukraine, reported Xinhua citing CNN Turk broadcaster.

The plane carrying the Russian representatives landed at the Ataturk Airport, which is exclusively used for diplomatic missions.
According to Turkish diplomatic sources, the talks are expected to begin on Tuesday morning. In a phone call on Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to hold the next round of negotiations in Istanbul.

Erdogan reiterated that Turkey would continue to contribute in every possible way during this process.

So far, Russia and Ukraine have held three rounds of in-person talks in Belarus, and their fourth session was a video conference. (ANI)

Russia-Ukraine War: Humanitarian corridor for foreign ships to leave Ports


Kyiv [Ukraine]: Russia on Friday claimed to open a humanitarian corridor to allow foreign ships to leave Ukrainian ports, said Ukraine’s local media outlet The Kyiv Independent on Friday.

“The supposed corridor would be 3 miles wide an open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 25. Earlier, Russia claimed there were drifting mines in the Black Sea,” wrote the media outlet.
Moreover, as the Ukraine-Russia war enters the second month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gives four cities the honorary title of ‘Hero City’ and seven National Guard service members ‘Hero of Ukraine’ title. The four cities to receive the title were Bucha, Irpin, Mykolaiv, and Okhtyrka. Five of the seven service members received the award posthumously.

The humanitarian condition in Ukraine continues to worsen as Mariupol City Council calls for help as residents begin to die from starvation. According to the local media, more and more people are left without any food while multiple attempts to create humanitarian corridors and to provide aid have failed as Russian troops continue to violate ceasefire agreements.

Russia launched its invasion last month after recognising the Ukrainian breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as “independent republics.” Russia has since continued to maintain that the aim of its operations has been to “demilitarize” and “de-nazify” the country.

The Russian actions were immediately condemned by almost all the western countries, who rolled out severe sets of sanctions targetting the Russian economy, and key individuals. A number of countries, including the US, UK, France, Italy, Finland and several others, also banned Russian aircraft over their airspaces. (ANI)

Miss World 2019 Toni-Ann Singh Performs ‘The Prayer’ In Support Of Ukraine

San Juan [Puerto Rico], March 17 (ANI): Miss World 2019 Toni-Ann Singh performed ‘The Prayer’ during the 70th Miss World pageant to express solidarity with Ukraine amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

The pageant was held in San Juan, Puerto Rico on March 16 (March 17 IST), after being delayed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. During Singh’s soul-stirring rendition, the pageant’s candidates and organisers raised their candles. The words “a prayer for peace” bannered at the screen behind the stage.

Singh, from Jamaica, dressed in a graceful fuchsia dress for the event. She passed the crown to Miss World 2021 Karolina Bielawska from Poland.

Indian-American Shree Saini from the US bagged the first runner-up title, followed by Olivia Yace from Cote d’Ivoire as the second runner-up.

Femina Miss India World 2020 Manasa Varanasi represented India at the 70th Miss World. She reached the Top 13 contestants but could not make it to the Top 6 finalists.

US journalist Brent Renaud killed in Ukraine’s city of Irpin

Kyiv [Ukraine], March 13 (ANI): A video journalist from the US, best known for producing humanitarian stories from conflict zones, has reportedly been killed in Irpin outside the city of Kyiv in Ukraine according to Kyiv police official Andriy Nebytov.

The police official shared images of the journalist’s body, as well as his press ID and US passport. The press ID showed the reporter as an employee of the New York Times, but the prestigious US daily said that the man was not working for them at the moment of his death, reported DW.
The journalist is a Peabody and DuPont Award-winning filmmaker, best known for producing humanitarian stories from conflict zones. He has been a journalist for over two decades.

Moreover, an unverified video appeared to show his journalist colleague being treated in a hospital with wounds. He said that he was shot at while in a car.

On February 24, Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine after the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republic requested help in ‘defending themselves.’

The Russian Defense Ministry said the special operation is targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure only and the civilian population is not in danger.

The West however denies these claims by the Russians and in response, Western nations have imposed comprehensive sanctions on Moscow. In addition, they introduced sanctions on Belarus for supporting Russia’s operation in Ukraine. (ANI)


Zelenskyy speaks to Polish counterpart, Bulgarian PM over Ukraine situation

Kyiv [Ukraine]: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday (Local Time) held talks with the Polish President Andrzej Duda and the Prime Minister of Bulgaria Kiril Petkov where he discussed the current situation in Ukraine calling Russia an “aggressor” committing crimes against the country.

Taking to Twitter, Zelesnkyy wrote, “Held talks with President @AndrzejDuda and Prime Minister @KirilPetkov. Informed on the course of Ukraine’s defence, the crimes of the Russian aggressor. We appreciate the assistance provided and the support of for Ukraine’s integration.”
On February 24, Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine after the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republic requested help in ‘defending themselves.’

The Russian Defense Ministry said the special operation is targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure only and the civilian population is not in danger. The West, however, denies these claims by the Russians and in response, Western nations have imposed comprehensive sanctions on Moscow. In addition, they introduced sanctions on Belarus for supporting Russia’s operation in Ukraine. (ANI)


Leonardo DiCaprio Donates To Humanitarian Groups Helping Ukrainians

Washington [US], March 10 (ANI): Actor Leonardo DiCaprio has made several donations to various humanitarian groups that are helping Ukrainians amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

According to People Magazine, previous reports claiming the Oscar winner, 47, had donated USD 10 million for Ukrainian military use and that DiCaprio has family ties to Ukraine are not true. “Leo had privately made several donations to humanitarian groups — CARE, IRC, UNHCR and Save the Children. All directed at Ukraine,” a source close to the ‘Don’t Look Up’ actor told People Magazine.

“He had been watching things unfold and wanted to support Ukraine the best he could. He will continue to support the humanitarian groups on the ground which are helping the people of Ukraine. He stands with Ukraine and will continue to support,” the source added.

For the unversed, on February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen.”

Johnson promises Zelenskyy to boost sanctions against Russia

London [UK]: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that London would boost sanctions against Russia over the military operation in Ukraine, the Downing Street said on Wednesday.

“The Prime Minister committed to further tighten these sanctions in order to impose the maximum economic cost on Russia. He outlined the work the UK is doing to provide the military equipment Ukraine needed to defend itself,” Downing Street said in a statement.
This comes a day after Zelenskyy said British PM has committed to a new “Marshall Plan” for Ukraine and hinted the US and allies will garner support for the plan.

Speaking in a video posted on Telegram, Zelenskyy had said, “There will be a new Marshall Plan for Ukraine. The West will form this support package. The British Prime Minister said this today. A man of his word, a sincere friend of Ukraine.”

The Marshall Plan was an initiative to rebuild Europe after World War II in a bid to stave off Communist influence, CNN reported citing the US Office of the Historian, Foreign Service Institute.

Zelenskyy also had said he is grateful to the UK for offering to phase out the import of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022.

Johnson and Zelenskyy also accused Russia of failing to respect the ceasefire agreements in humanitarian corridors. Meanwhile, Russia blames the Ukrainian forces for the agreements’ collapse.

On February 24, Russia launched a “special operation” after the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk requested assistance to defend themselves from ongoing attacks by the Ukrainian troops.

The Western countries have strongly condemned this operation as unproved military aggression and boosted the sanctions pressure on Moscow. (ANI)


Asma Shafique, Pakistani student thanks Indian govt for safe evacuation from Ukraine’s Sumy

Sumy [Ukraine],(ANI): Asma Shafique, a Pakistani student of Sumy State Medical College on Wednesday thanked the Indian Government for her safe evacuation amid the Russia-Ukraine war which entered the fourteenth day today.

“Hi, my name is Asma Shafique from Pakistan. I am really grateful and thankful to the Red Cross Society, the Indian Government and the Indian Embassy for safely evacuating us from our places and letting us go to the borders and reach our destinations safely. Thank You,” she said.
Pakistani student of Sumy State Medical College is enroute to western Ukraine with fellow batchmates for further evacuation from the country.

“We are Indian students from Sumy State University, Ukraine. We have been evacuated yesterday from Sumy safely with full security and currently, we are moving towards Lviv border along my friend from Pakistan,” said an Indian student.

The evacuation process of Indian students from Ukraine under ‘Operation Ganga’ has brought about 18 thousand Indians through special flights so far.

This comes against the backdrop of Russian forces launching military operations in Ukraine on February 24, three days after Moscow recognized Ukraine’s breakaway regions – Donetsk and Luhansk – as independent entities. (ANI)


Canada to send another shipment of highly-specialized military equipment to Ukraine

Ottawa [Canada], March: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday announced sending another shipment of highly-specialized military equipment to Ukraine amid heavy fighting between Russia and Ukraine which entered the fourteenth day today.

Trudeau told that he had spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and discussed sanctions against Russia and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine.
“Just spoke with Pres Zelenskyy. I let him know that Canada will send Ukraine another shipment of highly-specialized military equipment. Discussed sanctions against Russia & humanitarian assistance for Ukraine,” tweeted Trudeau.

The Canadian PM further stated that he had invited Zelenskyy to address Canada’s Parliament.

“I invited President @ZelenskyyUa to address Canada’s Parliament. Canadians have been inspired by the bravery and resiliency of Ukrainians and the leadership the President has shown, and I know they are eager to hear directly from him,” added Trudeau.

President Joe Biden and European leaders are facing political and geopolitical heat after Russian President Vladimir Putin crossed the red line by launching military operations in Ukraine.

Moreover, Zelenskyy daily videos highlighting his country’s heroism make it impossible to look away from the horror of the Russian military operation.

In the latest video message, Zelenskyy left his bunker and appeared defiantly in his government office, lauding Ukrainians protesting against Russian troops.

“(They say), ‘I’m here, it’s mine, and I won’t give it away. My city. My community. My Ukraine,’ ” Zelenskyy said in the message on Monday. (ANI)


Kyiv confirms opening of humanitarian corridors in a number of Ukrainian cities

Kyiv [Ukraine]: Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk confirmed on Wednesday the opening of humanitarian corridors from Enerhodar, Mariupol to Zaporizhia, from Sumy to Poltava and other Ukrainian cities.

Earlier in the day, Enerhodar’s head announced the opening of a humanitarian corridor on Wednesday to evacuate residents to Zaporizhia. The local authorities in Bucha, in turn, said that residents of the city and Vorzel will be evacuated to Kyiv on Wednesday.
“From 09:00 [local time, 07:00 GMT], a ceasefire will be introduced on the following routes: Enerhodar – Zaporizhia, Sumy – Poltava, Izyum – Lozova, Mariupol – Zaporizhia, Volnovakha – Pokrovsk, Vorzel, Borodyanka, Bucha, Irpin, Hostomel (Kyiv region) – Kyiv,” Vereshchuk told reporters.

It is also planned to evacuate 55 children and staff from the orphanage in the city of Vorzel, the official said.

Earlier today, Russia had announced a humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine for Wednesday morning for the evacuation of the civilian population, media reports said.

The announcement comes after both sides previously blamed each other for disrupting humanitarian corridors. The Russians said that they are ready to provide corridors from Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Mariupol, and Zaporizhzhia. (ANI/Sputnik)

Govt of India must urgently share detailed evacuation plan with Indians stranded in Ukraine: Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi [India]: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said that the Centre must urgently share the detailed evacuation plan with Indian citizens stranded in Ukraine as well as their families.

Tweeting a purported video in which Ukrainian army personnel can be seen using force against the Indian students, who gathered at the western border of Ukraine, the Congress leader said, “My heart goes out to the Indian students suffering such violence and their family watching these videos. No parent should go through this. GOI must urgently share the detailed evacuation plan with those stranded as well as their families. We can’t abandon our own people.”
Earlier, the Indian embassy had asked the students and citizens to come to western border of Ukraine so that they can be safely evacuated and taken back to India. (ANI)

Putin Invades Ukraine: Zelenskyy moves International Court of Justice against Russia


Kyiv [Ukraine]: Ukraine has moved the International Court of Justice in The Hague over the Russian military operation that started in Ukraine on Thursday (local time) and urged the top court to order Russia to cease “hostilities”.

Taking to Twitter, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, “Ukraine has submitted its application against Russia to the ICJ. Russia must be held accountable for manipulating the notion of genocide to justify aggression. We request an urgent decision ordering Russia to cease military activity now and expect trials to start next week.”
“Ukraine has officially filed a lawsuit against Russia in the UN International Court of Justice in The Hague. We demand that Russia be held accountable for distorting the concept of genocide to justify aggression. We ask the court to immediately order Russia to cease hostilities and schedule a hearing next week,” he added.

Amid ongoing tensions between Moscow and Kyiv, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and said that Russia must be isolated diplomatically and financially.

Earlier, he also spoke with President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili and Prime Minister of Czech Republic Petr Fiala about the current situation.

Notably, Zelenskyy, in a phone conversation, thanked Andrzej Duda, President of Poland for his personal leadership in granting Ukraine membership in the EU.

In a tweet, Zelensky also said that he had thanked the Pope for his prayers, adding that “the Ukrainian people feel the spiritual support of His Holiness.”

In the early hours on Thursday, Russia launched a special military operation in the Donbas region after recognition of Ukraine’s breakaway regions – Donetsk and Luhansk – as independent identities.

The Western countries have strongly condemned the Russian military operation and boosted the sanctions pressure on Moscow. (ANI)

Rajnath Singh: ‘PM Modi Had Instructed Much Before CCS Meeting To Bring Back Stranded Indians From Ukraine’

New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): Amid rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given instructions much before the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting was held, to make necessary arrangements for bringing stranded students in Ukraine back to India.

“During the day before yesterday’s meeting by PM Modi, a decision was made to evacuate them (stranded students in Ukraine) on GoI’s expenses. PM, in fact, had instructed much before to make necessary arrangements for the same,” Singh told the media persons in Delhi. On the question of children still trapped in the interior of Ukraine, he said, “our foreign minister has spoken to the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, efforts are on to bring them (students) safely. The situation should be normal, this is our wish.”

Earlier on Thursday, at the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting on the Ukraine crisis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the topmost priority of the government is the safety and security of Indian nationals, informed Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

The tensions between the two nations escalated after Putin on Monday recognized Ukraine’s breakaway regions – Donetsk and Luhansk – as independent entities escalating the ongoing tensions between the two countries. Ukraine gained independence in 1991 after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

Putin on Thursday morning said special military operations are being launched “to protect” the people in the Donbas region. He also warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences”.

Leaders from a number of countries including the UK, the US, Canada, and the European Union have condemned Russia’s military operations in the Donbas region.

Moreover, many Indian citizens and students are stranded in Ukraine.

The Indian Embassy on Thursday issued a third travel advisory to Indian nationals/students.
The Mission asked Indians to be aware of the surroundings, be safe, do not leave homes unless necessary, and stress on carrying their documents at all times. 

Mumbai Airport Blocks Special Corridor For Indian Students Arriving In City Today From Ukraine

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 26 (ANI): Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) has blocked a special corridor for Indian students who had been evacuated from Ukraine and would be arriving in Mumbai by AI1944 at ETA at 8 pm on Saturday, said CSMIA spokesperson.

“In light of the current crisis in Ukraine, CSMIA is extending full support to the evacuation of the stranded Indian students who are arriving in Mumbai today by AI1944 at ETA 20:00 hours,” stated the CSMIA spokesperson. The airport has blocked a special corridor for the arriving passengers. As per the guidelines laid down by the Government, the Airport Health Organization (APHO) team at the airport will be conducting mandatory temperature checks, added the CSMIA spokesperson.

Passengers would be required to produce either a COVID-19 vaccination certificate or a negative RT-PCR test report at the time of arrival, stated the CSMIA spokesperson.

In case any passenger is not able to show any of the documents at the time of arrival, they will have to undergo RT-PCR testing at the airport, where the cost would be borne by the airport, as per the CSMIA spokesperson.

These passengers would be able to leave the airport, post-testing negative. If any passenger is tested positive, they shall be clinically managed as per the protocols laid down by the Government.

Besides, CSMIA is undertaking steps to smoothen the process for the young students arriving at the airport. It has fenced in a special area at the airport for the arriving passengers to sit and will provide them with free WiFi codes, distribute food and water bottles, and provide them with any guidance or medical assistance if required at the time of arrival.

UK will work to ensure sovereignty, independence of Ukraine: PM Boris Johnson


London [UK]: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that the United Kingdom will work for as long as it takes to ensure the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine is restored, adding that the National flag of Ukraine flies over Downing Street.

“The national flag of Ukraine flies over Downing Street. The United Kingdom will work for as long as it takes to ensure that the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine is restored,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a Tweet.
Meanwhile, he pledged that the UK will provide further support to Kiev “in the coming days.”

“The Prime Minister committed to providing further UK support to Ukraine in the coming days,” Johnson’s office said in the readout of the telephone conversation with Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday morning.

According to the statement cited by Sputnik News Agency, Zelenskyy updated Johnson on the most recent developments in Ukraine and the “terrible developments in Kyiv in the early hours of this morning.”

Meanwhile, Zelenskyy suggested to Putin that they sit down at the negotiation table amid escalating tensions over Russia’s military actions in Ukraine.

“I would like to address the president of Russia once again … let us sit down at the negotiation table to stop people dying,” Zelenskyy said in a video address, Sputnik News Agency reported.

Zelensky urged European countries to demand stoppage of “the war”.

Leaders from a number of countries including the UK, the US, Canada, and the European Union have condemned Russia’s military operations in Ukraine. They have also imposed heavy sanctions on Russia.

US President Joe Biden on Thursday said that the US will introduce a new wave of sanctions against Russia in a broad effort to isolate Moscow from the global economy.

The new package of sanctions aims to cut Russia off from the US financial markets and includes freezing the assets of four major Russian banks, including VTB Bank, the nation’s second-biggest bank. (ANI)

Putin ready to send delegation to Minsk to hold talks with Ukraine: Kremlin


Moscow [Russia]: Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to send a delegation of high-ranking officials to Minsk to hold talks with Kiev, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday.

Putin also confirmed talks in Minsk in a phone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“Russia is ready to negotiate with Ukraine at a high level,” Putin said, cited by Sputnik News Agency.

Meanwhile, Beijing supported the settlement of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine through dialogue, the Chinese President said.

“Recently, the situation in eastern Ukraine has been changing rapidly, which has attracted increased attention from the international community… China supports the settlement of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine through negotiations,” Xi was quoted as saying by the CCTV.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had said earlier in the day that Moscow is ready for negotiations on Kiev at any moment.

“We are ready for negotiations. At any moment, as soon as the armed forces of Ukraine respond to the call of our president (Vladimir Putin), stop resisting and lay down their arms. No one is going to attack them, no one is going to oppress them, let them return to their families,” Lavrov said.

A number of explosions were heard in the capital city of Ukraine as the Russian special military operation entered the second day, local media reported.

“The Russian Armed Forces are not targeting Ukrainian cities in the special military operation, but putting the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ infrastructure out of operation,” said Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

“Measures will be taken to ensure the safety of UN and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) missions’ staff in Ukraine,” she added.

“For 8 years, we have tried to encourage the authorities in Kiev to stop the punitive operation against its own people and settle the conflict in Donbas by peaceful, political and diplomatic means. Unfortunately, they simply ignored us,” said Zakharova in a tweet.

She said that Ukrainian authorities made no bones of violating their own Constitution and laws and adopted discriminatory laws on language, education and indigenous peoples.

“On February 24, @MFA_Ukraine notified us that it had cut diplomatic ties with Russia. We regret that the Kiev regime has chosen the path of severing its ties with Russia and everything Russian. We do hope that history will soon set everything straight,” tweeted Zakharova.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized Ukraine’s breakaway regions – Donetsk and Luhansk – as independent entities. Later, Putin ordered special military operations “to protect” the people in the Donbas region.

Several countries including the UK, the US, Canada, and the European Union have condemned Russia’s military operations and imposed sanctions on Moscow.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden on Thursday said that the US will introduce a new wave of sanctions against Russia in a broad effort to isolate Moscow from the global economy.

The new package of sanctions aims to cut Russia off from the US financial markets and includes freezing the assets of four major Russian banks, including VTB Bank, the nation’s second-biggest bank. (ANI)[instagram]

Ukraine crisis: Andhra Pradesh sets up helpline number for stranded Indians


Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India]: Amid rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine, the Andhra Pradesh government on Friday appointed officials to coordinate with the Union External Affairs Ministry to provide the best possible help to the stranded students from Andhra Pradesh in Ukraine.

The officials include P Ravi Shankar, OSD, (mobile number-9871999055), MVS Rama Rao, Assistant Commissioner (9871990081) and ASRN Saibabu, Assistant Commissioner (9871999430) and email id-
The helpline number set up is 0863-2340678 and WhatsApp number- 8500027678. (ANI)[instagram)

Sonu Sood Urges Government To Safely Bring Back Indian Students From Ukraine

New Delhi [India], February 24 (ANI): Actor Sonu Sood on Thursday requested the Indian Embassy to find an alternate route for safely bringing back Indian students from Ukraine.

Taking to his Twitter handle, Sood wrote, “There are 18000 Indian students and many families who are stuck in Ukraine, I am sure the Government must be trying their best to get them back. I urge Indian Embassy to find an alternate route for their evacuation. Praying for their safety. #IndiansInUkraine.”

Earlier in the day, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also wrote a letter to the Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar asking him to ensure the safety of Indian students and requested to make necessary arrangements for their return by arranging special flights.

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) on Thursday landed at the Delhi airport at around 7:45 am carrying 182 Indian nationals, mostly students. Amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, several airlines are operating special flights, including Air India, to bring back Indian nationals safely.

The Ministry of External Affairs is currently holding high-level meetings, sources said on Thursday as the situation continues to escalate near the Ukrainian border after Russia launched its military operations in the Donbas region.

Air India’s Special Flight Returning Mid-air Due To Closure Of Airspace In Ukraine

New Delhi [India], February 24 (ANI): A special Air India flight returning from mid-air as Ukraine airspace is closed due to notice to airmen (NOTAM) as war has been started between Russia and Ukraine.

An empty flight of Air India AI-1947 is returning from over Iran air space as Ukraine imposed restrictions on civilian aircraft, sources said. “Air India flight AI1947 is coming back to Delhi due to NOTAM at, Kyiv, Ukraine,” Air India informed.

Notice to airmen (NOTAM), is a notice filed with an aviation authority to alert aircraft pilots of potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect the flight.

Air India is scheduled to operate a second special flight for Ukraine to bring back stranded Indian citizens.

Amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, several airlines are operating special flights, including Air India, to bring back Indian nationals safely.

“A special flight of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) landed at Delhi Airport from Kyiv, at 7:45 am today, with 182 Indian citizens, including students,” an official of Ukraine International Airlines in India told ANI on the condition of anonymity.

In the coming days for Indian citizens, more flights are going to be operated from Ukraine (Kiev) amid tension in the country.

Any attempt to interfere with Russian action would lead to ‘consequences’, warns Putin


Moscow [Russia]: Announcing a special “military operation” in the Donbas region, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences”.

Delivering an emergency address, Putin said the operation has been launched to demilitarize Ukraine and defend people “suffering persecution and genocide” by the Kiev regime.
“I have taken the decision to carry out a special military operation. Its goal will be to defend people who for eight years are suffering persecution and genocide by the Kiev regime. For this we will aim for demilitarization and de-Nazification of Ukraine,” said Putin, asking Ukrainian soldiers to lay down arms.

“Anyone who tries to interfere with us, or even more so, to create threats for our country and our people, must know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences as you have never before experienced in your history,” he added.

This comes hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine has not posed and will not pose a threat to Russia.

In an emotional appeal delivered largely in Russian, Zelenskyy said, “You are being told that Ukraine can pose a threat to Russia.

“It was not like this in the past, it is not like this now and it will not be so in the future. You demand security guarantees from NATO. We also demand guarantees of our security – from you, from Russia, and other guarantors of the Budapest memorandum,” Zelenskyy said in a video address.

Ukrainian President also refuted Moscow’s claims that his country poses a threat to Russia and warned that a Russian invasion would cost tens of thousands of lives.

The White House on Wednesday had warned that Putin will face significant consequences if Moscow invades Ukraine.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres asked the Russian President to stop “attacking Ukraine” and to give peace a chance, speaking at an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday night.

“The day was full of rumours and indications of an offensive against Ukraine was imminent. In the recent past, there were several situations with similar indications, similar rumours,” Guterres told the council.

“I was wrong. And I would like not to be wrong again today,” he added. (ANI)(image instagram)

Air India Special Flight Departs From India To Bring Indians From Ukraine

New Delhi [India], February 22 (ANI): The special flight of Tata-owned Air India (AI) will take back Indian nationals, including students, who had registered for safe return from Ukraine (Boryspil) airport tonight. “The first special flight of Air India (AI-1946) out of the three to be operated from Ukraine to India will fly tonight with Indian nationals tonight,” an airline official told ANI on the condition of anonymity.

An Air India ferry flight on Monday left for Ukraine to take back Indians who wished to return home. Air India had already announced that a total of three flights from Ukraine to India would operate for Indian nationals, including students, during the state of war in Ukraine.
“Air India is operating three flights between India and Ukraine on February 22, 24 and 26,” Air India said.

The Boeing Dreamliner AI-1947 flight from Delhi has taken off as part of the special operation for Ukraine. It has a capacity of over 200 seats.

“A Dreamliner Boeing B-787 took off from Delhi airport for Ukraine (Boryspil) in the morning,” an airport official told ANI.

Concerned over the escalating tension along the border of Ukraine with Russia, India on Tuesday strongly emphasized in the special meeting of the Security Council of the United Nations the need for all sides to exercise the utmost restraint and intensify diplomatic efforts to ensure a mutually amicable solution.

This statement was made at the UNSC in the backdrop of Russia’s recognizing the independence of breakaway regions Donetsk and Luhansk of Ukraine. The United States and allies requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Russia’s recognition of separatist territories in Ukraine as Independent.

Speaking on the UNSC briefing on developments in Ukraine, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, TS Tirumurti said that the escalation of tension along the border of Ukraine with Russia has the potential to undermine peace and security of the region.

Tirumurti called for restraint on all sides. “The immediate priority is a de-escalation of tensions taking into account the legitimate security interests of all countries and aimed towards securing long-term peace and stability in the region and beyond,” he said.

The Indian representative emphasized that this issue can only be resolved through diplomatic dialogue.

Maintain calm, travel back to India on commercial flights: Indian embassy in Kyiv


Kyiv [Ukraine](ANI): The Indian embassy in Kyiv on Wednesday advised its citizens to maintain calm and not give rise to panic amid the ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

Answering some frequently asked questions (FAQs) from Indian citizens, the embassy said, “It is important to maintain calm and not give rise to panic. Those desirous of travelling back to India are advised to book available commercial flight tickets. Ministry of External Affairs is also in discussions with Ministry of Civil Aviation and various airlines for expanding flights between India and Ukraine.”
The embassy further emphasised that tickets should be purchased from verified and reliable sources only. “You are also advised to keep monitoring Embassy Twitter and Facebook page and website for updates on the matter. Do not forward unverified news, and beware of potential scams.”

On whether visa and consular services are functional, the embassy said the embassy continues to function normally to provide all services to Indian nationals in Ukraine.

On the issues concerning the Indian students studying in Ukraine, the embassy said that they are engaging with concerned Ukrainian authorities for appropriate regularization of the education process.

Earlier, Indian Embassy in Ukraine asked its citizens, particularly students whose stay is not essential, to leave Kyiv temporarily.

In an advisory issued on Tuesday, India also requested its nationals to keep the Embassy informed about the status of their presence to enable the Embassy to reach them where required.

Tensions over Ukraine have increased in recent months, with Russia and NATO accusing each other of amassing troops on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

The United States and Ukraine accuse Russia of planning to invade. But Moscow continues to deny such claims and maintains that it has no intention of attacking any country. (ANI)

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin To Travel To Europe Amid Russia-Ukraine Tensions

Washington [US], February 15 (ANI): Amid heightened tension between Russia and Ukraine, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will be travelling to European countries Belgium, Poland, and Lithuania.

“Austin will depart on an overseas trip February 15 to meet with senior military and government leaders in Belgium, Poland, and Lithuania,” read the US Department of Defense release. In Belgium, Secretary Austin will meet with Allied defense ministers and NATO leadership to discuss Russia’s military buildup in and around Ukraine, reiterate the US commitment to Article 5, and continue the Alliance’s progress on deterrence and defense while ensuring the Alliance is prepared to face tomorrow’s challenges.

In Poland, he will meet with Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland, and Minister of National Defence of Poland Mariusz Blaszczak to enhance bilateral cooperation in security and deepen the Polish-American partnership, which is vital to addressing today’s current threats and challenges, added the release.

Secretary Austin will also meet with US and Polish troops at Powidz Air Base to tour the facilities and observe the culture and conditions of our rotational presence there.

Secretary Austin will also travel to Lithuania to meet with Gitanas Nauseda, President of Lithuania, Ingrida Simonyte, Prime Minister of Lithuania, and Minister Arvydas Anusauskas, Minister for National Defence of Lithuania, to reaffirm that the United States stands with Lithuania, working together to strengthen the Lithuania armed forces and continuing to stand shoulder to shoulder against threats and adversaries to advance shared interests and values.

Secretary Austin will meet jointly with Minister Anusauskas, Kalle Laanet, Minister of Defense of Estonia, and Artis Pabriks, Minister of Defense of Latvia, and will visit with US Service members stationed in Lithuania, added the release.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday announced of Russian invasion on February 16 in his Facebook post.

Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border. The troop build-up had raised concerns among the US and NATO allies that Russia is planning a military incursion.

However, Russia has continually denied having any such plans.

Turkey Issues Travel Warning For Ukraine Amid Escalating Tensions

Ankara [Turkey], February 13 (ANI/Xinhua): Turkey’s foreign ministry on Saturday advised its citizens to avoid traveling to eastern Ukraine amid escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

“It is recommended that our citizens refrain from traveling to the eastern border regions of Ukraine unless they have to,” the ministry said in a statement. The ministry also asked citizens to take all possible precautions for their safety and contact the Turkish embassy in Kiev before essential travel.

On Friday, US President Joe Biden reiterated his call for US citizens in Ukraine to leave the country immediately, citing increased threats of military action.

Turkey recently has stepped up for acting as a mediator between Ukraine and Russia to sustain peace in the region.

US calls on Americans in Ukraine to leave in next 24 to 48 hours: White House


Washington [USA] (ANI): The United States is calling on all Americans in Ukraine to leave in the next 24 to 48 hours, US National Security Adviser (NSA) Jake Sullivan on Friday (local time).

“We want to be crystal clear on this point. Any American in Ukraine should leave as soon as possible and in any event, in the next 24 to 48 hours,” Sullivan said, according to CNN.
He said that if Americans stay they “are assuming risk with no guarantee that there will be any other opportunity to leave and no prospect of a US Military evacuation in the event of a Russian invasion.”

The National Security Adviser was speaking during a White House press briefing amid the ongoing situation in Ukraine. He also said that there is a credible prospect that Russian Military action in Ukraine would take place even before the end of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

“We continue to see signs of Russian escalation including now forces arriving at the border. As we’ve said before, we’re in the window when an invasion could begin at any time should Vladimir Putin decide to order it. I will not comment on the details of our intelligence information but I do want to be clear, it could begin during the Olympics, despite a lot of speculation that it will only happen after the Olympics,” Sullivan said during a White House press briefing.

He noted that the US forces’ deployments in Germany, Poland, Armenia are not soldiers being sent to go fight Russia in Ukraine.

“They are not going to war in Ukraine or fighting a war with Russia. They are going to defend NATO territory against aggression; defensive and non-escalatory deployments,” he added.

Meanwhile, CNN reported quoting Secretary of State Antony Blinken that a Russian invasion of Ukraine “could begin at any time,” including during the Beijing Winter Olympics, and the United States continues “to see very troubling signs of Russian escalation, including new forces arriving at the Ukrainian border.”

The top US diplomat made the comments alongside his counterparts from the Quad — Australia, India and Japan — following a day of meetings in Melbourne and after the State Department and Biden warned US citizens to depart Ukraine immediately. (ANI)(image-instagram)

NATO sending ships, jets to eastern Europe amid Russia’s military build-up around Ukraine

Brussels [Belgium] (ANI): North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) allies are putting forces on standby and sending additional ships and fighter jets to NATO deployments in eastern Europe, reinforcing Allied deterrence and defence as Russia continues its military build-up in and around Ukraine.
In the past days, a number of NATO allies have made announcements regarding current or upcoming deployments. Denmark is sending a frigate to the Baltic Sea and is set to deploy four F-16 fighter jets to Lithuania in support of NATO’s long-standing air-policing mission in the region. Spain is sending ships to join NATO naval forces and is considering sending fighter jets to Bulgaria, NATO said in a statement on Monday. France has expressed its readiness to send troops to Romania under NATO command. The Netherlands is sending two F-35 fighter aircraft to Bulgaria from April to support NATO’s air-policing activities in the region and is putting ship and land-based units on standby for NATO’s Response Force. The US has also made clear that it is considering increasing its military presence in the eastern part of the alliance, the statement added.
“I welcome Allies contributing additional forces to NATO. NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend all Allies, including by reinforcing the eastern part of the Alliance. We will always respond to any deterioration of our security environment, including through strengthening our collective defence,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
NATO said that in response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, NATO increased its presence in the eastern part of the alliance, including with four multinational battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. These units, led by the UK, Canada, Germany and the US respectively, are multinational, and combat-ready. Their presence makes clear that an attack on one Ally will be considered an attack on the whole Alliance. There were no NATO forces in the eastern part of the Alliance before 2014. (Image source: Instagram)

Blinken says not anticipating big breakthroughs during meeting with Lavrov in Geneva

Geneva [Switzerland] (ANI/Sputnik): US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that he does not expect big breakthroughs on the Ukrainian crisis and security issues during his upcoming meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, which is to be held in Geneva on Friday.
“I don’t anticipate any breakthroughs,” Blinken told the German TV channel ZDF, when asked about the expected results of the meeting. At the same time, he noted that many intensive talks with Russia have been held lately. According to the politician, participants had the opportunity to discuss the results of the consultations, and the forthcoming meeting with Lavrov will show what conclusions the parties reached.
“At least, I hope we’ll know more tomorrow – about whether Russia is genuinely committed to trying to resolve these differences diplomatically through dialogue or not,” Blinken added.
Earlier in the day, Blinken arrived in Geneva for his meeting with Lavrov to discuss security matters in Eastern Europe after his visits to Kiev and Berlin. The talks are expected to start at 13:00 Moscow time (10:00 GMT). Sources in both delegations told Sputnik that the meeting is expected to last from two to two and a half hours, after which Lavrov and Blinken will hold separate press conferences.
In the past few months, the West and Ukraine have accused Russia of amassing troops near the Ukrainian border in alleged preparation for invasion. Russia has dismissed these claims, maintaining that it has no intention of invading Ukraine while stressing that it has the right to move forces within its own territory.
Russia has also expressed concern over NATO’s military activity near its borders and ongoing military support of Ukraine, including an increase in the number of Western instructors in Donbas.
In December, the Russian government proposed a set of mutual security guarantees in Europe to NATO and the United States, with their response still pending. (Image source: Instagram)

UK supplied Ukraine thousands of light anti-tank missiles amid tensions with Russia

London [UK] (ANI): The British government has said that it supplied Ukraine with several thousands of light anti-tank missiles amid tensions with Russia, reported Sputnik.
James Heappey, UK Minister for Armed Forces, said that London supplied several thousands of light anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, according to Sputnik. Emphasizing that Ukraine is a proud sovereign nation, said Heappey, adding that Ukrainians are ready to fight for every inch of their country.
On Tuesday, the UK had said that its military airlifted a batch of light anti-tank weapons to Ukraine for self-defense.
Meanwhile, the Russian embassy in Washington has said that the US should reaffirm its interest in the diplomatic resolution of tensions around Ukraine by refusing to supply weapons to Kiev.
“If the United States is truly committed to diplomatic efforts to resolve the intra-Ukrainian conflict, it should abandon plans to supply new batches of weapons for the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” the embassy said on Facebook.
Washington should instead use its influence on the Ukrainian authorities to persuade them to stop sabotaging the Minsk agreements, according to the statement.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also arrived in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, the CNN state department pool reported.
Blinken is set to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba as part of his visit. (Image source: Unsplash)

Massive cyberattack hits Ukrainian government websites

Kyiv [Ukraine] (ANI): A number of Ukrainian government websites have been hit by “a massive cyberattack” warning Ukrainians to “be afraid and wait for the worst” and claiming that all their personal information had been hacked, CNN reported on Friday.
“As a result of a massive cyber attack, the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a number of other government agencies are temporarily down. Our specialists have already started restoring the work of IT systems, and the cyberpolice has opened an investigation,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Oleg Nikolenko tweeted. Early Friday morning (local time), Ukrainian government websites, including that of the Foreign Ministry, displayed dark screens with a text that said Ukrainians’ personal information had been hacked.
“Ukrainian! All your personal data has been uploaded to the public network. All data on the computer is destroyed, it is impossible to restore them,” CNN quoted the message, published in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish.
The web page further read, “All information about you has become public, be afraid and wait for the worst. This is for you for your past, present and future. For Volhynia, for the OUN UIA [Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists Ukrainian Insurgent Army], for Galicia, for Polesie and for historical lands,” CNN reported.
The Ministry of Education and Science, whose official website is also down, directed citizens to use the ministry’s official social media channels on Friday while the issue is being resolved, as per CNN. (Image source: Instagram)

US House lawmakers to propose Bill to boost Ukraine Defense aid, sanction Russia

Washington [US] (ANI/Sputnik): House Republicans are set to introduce legislation that would boost US defense aid to Ukraine and reimpose sanctions on Russia if passed, Politico reported, citing a draft copy of the bill.
The bill’s Senate counterpart of the proposed legislation, entitled the “Guaranteeing Ukrainian Autonomy by Reinforcing its Defense (GUARD) Act,” was introduced in mid-December. The move comes amid increased tensions between Russia, the US and its allies over the buildup of Russian forces near the Ukrainian border. “President Biden is failing to adequately arm Ukraine & deter Russia’s military buildup. Today, I joined my House colleagues in reaffirming our commitment to Ukraine. The U.S. can no longer afford to be weak on the international stage,” Representative Mike Turner said on Monday in a tweet with a link to the report.
A draft copy of the legislation calls for $200 million in aid to Ukraine for air-defense capabilities and naval vessels, the reimposition of sanctions related to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and the consideration of state sponsor of terrorism designation for Russia.
Russian delegations are meeting with US, NATO and OSCE officials this week to discuss a range of bilateral and European security issues. (Image source: Unsplash)

Putin warns Biden of severing relations if West imposes sanctions on Russia over Ukraine situation

Moscow [Russia]: Stressing that the call between Russian and the US President was substantive and specific, a Kremlin aide has said that President Vladimir Putin has warned his American counterpart, Joe Biden, of severing relations if West decides to impose sanctions on Moscow over the situation in Ukraine.
Biden warned Putin about new financial, military and economic sanctions against Russia in case of the escalation in tensions along its western borders during the phone call between the two leaders, according to Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov. “Our president clearly responded that this would be a big mistake that of course may result in the full severance of relations,” Sputnik quoted Ushakov as saying. Putin added that such sanctions would have serious consequences and expressed hope this would not happen.
Ushakov has also said that the talks between the two leaders were substantive and specific.
“In principle, we are satisfied with the talks as they were frank, substantive and specific. And I can also say that the spirit of these talks was constructive,” Ushakov said.
Emphasising that the presidents discussed all key topics, Ushakov said that the conversation was very businesslike, meaningful, and the presidents, which is also very important, agreed to continue the dialogue after the new year.
The Kremlin aide also said that during the talks Joe Biden maintained that Washington is not going to deploy offensive strike weapons in Ukraine.
“Biden has clearly said that the United States is not going to deploy offensive strike weapons to Ukraine,” said Ushakov.
“It seems to me that Washington understands Russia’s concerns, although Washington has its own concerns. Yet, President Biden is ready to continue the dialogue with President Putin, and this is what, in fact, our leaders have agreed upon – the dialogue will continue. Moreover, the Presidents, as I have already said, will not only continue to maintain a dialogue but also push the negotiations that our respective interdepartmental teams will be conducting in Geneva,” Sputnik quoted Ushakov as saying.
Further, the aide said that Putin during his call with Biden outlined in detail the basic principles that were put in the documents Russia handed over and stressed that negotiations on three tracks are important for Moscow.
These tracks are bilateral talks in Geneva, the Russia-NATO Council in Brussels, and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Vienna. “But the main thing is that we need a result, and we will achieve a result in the form of ensuring the guaranteed security of Russia,” said Ushakov.

US will consult closely with Ukraine, NATO on diplomatic engagements with Russia: Blinken

Washington [US]: The United States will remain in close contact with both Ukraine and NATO allies on diplomatic engagements with Russia, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after a phone call with the Ukrainian president on Wednesday.
“Reiterated full U.S. support for Ukraine in my call with Ukrainian President @ZelenskyyUa,” Blinken wrote on Twitter. “We will continue to consult closely with Ukraine, @NATO Allies, and partners in our diplomatic efforts to deter further Russian aggression.”

EU’s Von Der Leyen tells Russia more sanctions will follow escalation on Ukrainian border

Brussels [Belgium]: The European Union is ready to impose more sanctions on Russia if it acts aggressively toward Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has warned.
The EU boss told Le Journal du Dimanche in an interview published Saturday that “any act of aggression against Ukraine will lead to sanctions and massive consequences. They have been prepared.” She was answering a question about whether Brussels could make Moscow respect itself after it passed the EU over and opted for dialogue with Washington instead.
“European countries are united, they are acting in tandem with the US and NATO. We want to get along well with Russia,” the chief commissioner said, adding Russia needed to stop “provocations.”
The EU and the US have accused Russia of massing troops on the border with Ukraine in what Kiev claims is preparation for invasion. Russia says it is free to move military personnel anywhere within its territory and demands security guarantees from NATO.

Former Soviet leader Gorbachev stresses dialogue between Russia, US amid tensions over Ukraine

Moscow [Russia]: On the eve of the 30th anniversary of USSR disintegration, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Friday stressed the importance of continued dialogue amid tensions between Russia and the US.
Russia’s Interfax news agency carried a written interview with the 90-year-old Gorbachev, one day before the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union, reported NHK World. Many people in Russia blame Gorbachev for the collapse of the USSR. In a survey released by an independent polling firm on Friday, 63 per cent of respondents expressed regret over the dissolution, reported NHK World.
Gorbachev said the Soviet Union’s demise should not be blamed on his policy of perestroika, or restructuring, stressing that it allowed people to enjoy many rights and freedoms, such as those of speech and assembly.
The world’s first socialist country maintained one-party rule by the Communist Party from its foundation in 1922.
Gorbachev resigned as president of the USSR on December 25, 1991, ending its 69-year history.
In the interview, Gorbachev said that without his relations with Western leaders, including personal ties, the Cold War, the arms race and regional conflicts around the world could not have ended, reported NHK World.
Gorbachev also referred to the current international situation. He said serious talks on nuclear weapons and European security have finally begun, adding that it is necessary to expand the agenda and continue the dialogue even in difficult times.
Russia stands accused of allegedly deploying troops near the Ukrainian border in preparation for an invasion. Moscow has repeatedly denied those accusations, pointing to NATO’s military activity near Russia’s borders, which it deems to be a threat to its national security. Russia has also said it has the right to move forces within its own sovereign territory as it sees fit.

US, UK send cyberwarfare teams to Ukraine amid concerns over Russia

Washington [US]: The United States and the United Kingdom sent cyberwarfare teams to Ukraine over concerns Russia could potentially launch a cyber attack, the New York Times reported.
The report said on Monday that the United States and the United Kingdom think Russian President Vladimir Putin may soon attempt to launch a cyberattack targeting Ukraine’s electrical grid, banking system and other critical infrastructure. US officials declined to describe the type of cyber teams that were sent to Ukraine while the UK government described its support to Ukraine as defensive in nature, the report said.
The report added, citing US intelligence, that Putin may be trying to make Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy look inept.
Tensions around Ukraine have been aggravated in the pa several weeks by an alleged Russian troop buildup near the Ukrainian border and claims of preparations for an invasion. Russia has repeatedly denied those accusations, pointing to NATO’s military activity near its borders that it deems to be a threat to its national security. Russia has also said it has the right to move forces within its own territory.

Biden warns Putin of strong measures if Russia escalates in Ukraine

Washington [US]: Raising concerns over Russia’s military build-up near the Ukraine border, US President Joe Biden on Tuesday warned his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin of strong economic measures.
Biden and Putin on Tuesday held their bilateral talks in a video conference format. According to CNN, President Biden told his Russian counterpart that the US is prepared to launch strong economic measures that would cause a bigger punch than the sanctions issued in 2014 that failed to stop Russia from occupying Crimea.
“I will look you in the eye and tell you, as President Biden looked Putin in the eye and told him today, that things we did not do in 2014 we are prepared to do now,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan told mediapersons after Biden’s call with Putin on Tuesday.
Recent US intelligence findings estimate Russia could begin a military offensive in Ukraine in a matter of months as it amasses up to 175,000 troops along the border, CNN reported.
Sullivan said the Biden administration still believes that Putin has not made a decision on whether to launch a military offensive against Ukraine.

Without going into specifics, Sullivan said that the US is coordinating with European allies “at a deep level of specificity,” CNN reported.
The national security advisor said, “Biden was direct and straightforward with President Putin. There was a lot of give and take. There was no finger-wagging, but the President was crystal clear about where the United States stands on all of these issues.”
Besides the economic ramifications mentioned on the call, Sullivan said President Biden conveyed that the US is prepared to bolster defence capabilities in the region.
“He reiterated America’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. He told President Putin directly that if Russia further invades Ukraine, the United States and our European allies would respond with strong economic measures,” said Sullivan.
He said that the US would provide additional defensive material to the Ukrainians above and beyond that the US has already been providing, and would fortify NATO allies on the eastern flank with additional capabilities in response to such an escalation.
Tuesday’s conference was the fifth conversation between Biden and Putin since the former’s assumption of the presidential office.

EU’s Borrell says Brussels working to forestall conflict between Russia, Ukraine

Rome [Italy]: The European Union is making a diplomatic effort to prevent an escalation of tensions on the border between Russia and Ukraine, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell has said.
Over the past several weeks, Ukraine and some Western countries have expressed concern about the alleged increase in what they characterize as “aggressive actions” by Russia on their border. Moscow, for its part, has rejected the accusations by saying it is moving troops within its own territory and at its own discretion. “We are using our diplomatic capacity to let Russia know that this [alleged attack] would be a grave violation of international law,” Borrell said in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, published late on Saturday.
According to the EU official, at this stage, it is important to show Moscow “the range of possible outcomes.”
“We are working to avoid the crisis, but in the face of any unforeseen circumstances, the EU will steadfastly support Ukraine,” Borrell stated, while also saying that the upcoming Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels will provide an opportunity for the bloc to demonstrate its commitment.
Relations between Moscow and Kiev deteriorated Crimea’s reunification with Russia in 2014 and the ongoing armed conflict in Donbas. In January 2015, the Ukrainian parliament adopted a statement calling Russia an “aggressor country.” Russia denies the accusations of the Ukrainian party and calls them unacceptable.

US warns Russia to stay away from Ukraine, says any move may trigger ‘serious consequences’

Washington [US]: The US on Tuesday (local time) warned Russia to stay away from aggression in Ukraine and said that ‘any move’ from Moscow may trigger ‘serious consequences’.
The remarks came from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken amid concerns that Russia could mount another invasion in Ukraine as Moscow’s military forces build up near the border, reported CNN. “It’s increasingly belligerent rhetoric, it’s recent buildup of forces. It’s unusual troop movements along Ukraine’s border,” Blinken said, adding that I’ll have a lot more to say about that tomorrow after I’ve had a chance to consult with our allies in the NATO meetings that started this afternoon.”
“But for now, let me just reiterate that any escalatory actions by Russia would be of great concern to the United States as they would to Latvia and any renewed aggression can trigger serious consequences,” the Secretary added.
Blinken made the remarks at a joint press conference with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics in Riga, where he is attending a meeting of NATO foreign ministers aimed at addressing the massing of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, reported CNN.
Earlier, US President Joe Biden had also expressed solidarity with Ukraine and had said that “Ukrainian people overcame the horror of the Holodomor, demonstrating their spirit and resilience, and eventually creating a free and democratic society,”
“As we remember the pain and the victims of the Holodomor, the United States also reaffirms our commitment to the people of Ukraine today and our unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Biden added.
Holodomor refers to the famine in Ukraine in the 1930s, which also affected other regions of the former Soviet Union, including western Siberia, the northern Caucasus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and claimed the lives of up to 7 million people, reported Sputnik.

US Senator introduces measure to trigger sanctions if Russia escalates Ukraine conflict

Washington [US],: US Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez introduced a measure this week that would trigger a broad range of sanctions against the Russian government if it engages in or supports a significant escalation of hostilities in or against Ukraine.
“Substantial new sanctions should be imposed in the event that the Government of the Russian Federation engages in escalatory military or other offensive operations against Ukraine,” the amendment reads. Under the amendment, the US president will determine whether the Russian government is engaged in or knowingly supports a significant escalation in hostilities or hostile action in or against Ukraine compared to levels before November 1, 2021.
The sanctions would target high-level Russian government and military officials, entities and officials tied to Nord Stream 2, Russian banks, and state-owned businesses.
The measure would also ban primary and secondary sovereign debt transactions.
Moreover, the measure would authorise additional security assistance for Ukraine.
The amendment was submitted to be part of the 2022 National Defence Authorization Act, which the US Senate agreed to begin debate on Friday morning.

Ukrainian police arrest suspects for plotting Food Minister’s murder

Kiev [Ukraine]: Several Ukrainians and a US national have been arrested on suspicion of giving the order to kill Agrarian Policy and Food Minister Roman Leshchenko, the Ukrainian interior minister said Thursday.
“The US embassy has been informed about this… All of them have been arrested,” Internal Affairs Minister Denys Monastyrskiy told a news conference. Ukrainian media said the American is believed to be the main suspect. Together with a Ukrainian woman, he ordered undercover police agents posing as would-be killers to have the 32-year-old minister beaten up and killed.
Leshchenko told reporters that he and his family had been routinely threatened since he was appointed to a government position in 2020. But he denied that the threats were related to his cabinet job.
Monastyrskiy said at the briefing that the suspects sought to seize Leshchenko’s property allegedly to repay a debt he owed since the time they did business together in 2018.
Ukraine’s National Police chief Ihor Klimenko said the suspects, including the US citizen, faced life in prison on charges of kidnapping, extortion, causing grievous bodily harm, and attempted murder.

Stoltenberg says no consensus on having Ukraine become full NATO member

Brussels [Belgium] : North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members have no consensus on inviting Ukraine to become a full member, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says.
NATO’s partnership with Ukraine has become closer, Stoltenberg told “Axios on HBO” on Sunday, adding that nonetheless, there is currently no consensus agreement on inviting Ukraine to become a full member of the alliance. Russian Ambassador in the United States Anatoly Antonov said earlier this month that any ambitions to see Ukraine becoming a NATO member state are unacceptable.
During a Ukrainian delegation’s working visit to Washington, a new US-Ukrainian strategic charter was signed, which includes a provision reaffirming US support for Kiev’s aspirations to join NATO.
Commenting on prospects for Ukraine’s NATO membership, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin confirmed Washington’s support for Kiev’s aspirations, stating last month that third parties have no right to veto the accession.

COP26: PM Modi, Boris Johnson launch Infrastructure for the Resilient Island States initiative

Glasgow [UK] : Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson on Tuesday launched the initiative Infrastructure for the Resilient Island States (IRIS) at the 26th session of the Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow.
PM Modi reached Glasgow on Sunday to participate in the COP26 summit. Today, the Prime Minister is expected to hold a bilateral meeting with leaders of Ukraine, Nepal, Israel, Switzerland, Finland, Malawi in Glasgow, Scotland and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. He is also likely to attend the side event by the United States of America – Build Back Better World. Further, PM Modi scheduled to attend an event on “Accelerating Clean Technology Innovation and Development”.

On Monday, PM Modi met Boris Johnson on the sidelines of COP26. He stated that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has accepted PM Modi’s invitation to visit India saying that he would plan his visit as soon as the circumstances allow.
He also met members of the Indian community in Glasgow to strengthen people-to-people bonds between the two countries ahead of his participation in the 26th session of the Conference of Parties (COP26).
The COP26 is taking place under the Presidency of the UK partnering with Italy. The high-level segment of COP-26 is titled the World Leaders’ Summit (WLS) and the Summit has participation by heads of State/Government of over 120 countries. The Prime Minister is on a two-day visit to participate in the event.

US to hand over 3 island-class patrol boats to Ukraine

Washington [US]: The US will send to Ukraine three Island-class patrol boats in November, Ukrainian Ambassador to Washington Oksana Markarova said on Friday.
Earlier in October, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine said that two Island-class patrol boats will be transferred from the US to Ukraine during the third quarter of 2021, and another one is to be delivered by the end of the year. “Today in Baltimore, at the US Coast Guard base, the fifth crew of Ukrainian sailors was declared ready to serve on the Island-class patrol boat called Kubrak. Six weeks of training with the best US instructors and in November three boats will be sent from Baltimore to Ukraine in addition to the two that are already in our military service,” Markarova wrote on Facebook.
The ambassador noted that this event shows the strategic level of partnership in the sphere of defense between Ukraine and the US, as well as a special focus on the navy and the development of Ukraine’s capabilities in the Black and Azov Seas.
“At sea, on land and in the air, we are building up our defense capabilities and moving towards NATO standards,” Markarova added.
Island-class boats are fast patrol boats of the US Coast Guard designed for patrolling and search and rescue operations in coastal waters. In September 2018, two of these boats were transferred to the Ukrainian Navy.

Pentagon chief may have ‘overplayed’ role in promoting Ukraine NATO bid

Washington [US]: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin may have gone too far in publicly voicing strong support for Ukraine joining NATO during a visit to Kiev, analysts told Sputnik.
Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club said that Austin’s recent comments about Kiev’s membership in the alliance could be interpreted as “opening the doors” for Ukraine to enter NATO. On Wednesday, commenting on prospects for Ukraine’s NATO membership, Austin confirmed Washington’s support for Kiev’s aspirations and emphasized that third countries have no right to veto the accession, in an obvious reference to Moscow.
“Putin’s words leave no doubt that he seriously takes Austin’s statement about opening doors for Ukraine to NATO,” American University in Moscow President Edward Lozansky told Sputnik. “Taking into account his previous repeated warnings about crossing red lines means that Austin overplayed his role.”
Given the Russian leader’s experience on the geopolitical chessboard, Lozansky added, Putin likely has a clear scenario in mind of how to respond in case “the crossing does take place.”
“We don’t know, of course, the details of his scenario but I do not think Biden and many responsible European leaders are ready to find out what they are,” Lozansky said. “Fortunately, the final decision will be made by them and not Austin.”
Former CIA station chief and analyst Philip Giraldi told Sputnik the Biden Administration has sent every possible signal to indicate that it favors inclusion of Ukraine and Georgia in the security alliance.
“We can expect the pressure to increase in the next several months and there is no NATO member who will be engaged enough on the issue to try to oppose it,” Giraldi said.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko told Sputnik on Thursday that Ukraine’s possible NATO entry would be an extremely dangerous step that would force Moscow to react.
Russia has repeatedly warned that NATO’s expansion and reckless military buildup in the region threatens to spark an unnecessary confrontation.

Ukrainian lawmakers dismiss parliament speaker

Kiev [Ukraine]: Ukrainian lawmakers on Thursday voted to dismiss parliament speaker Dmytro Razumkov, said the parliament press service.
The move was supported with 284 votes in favour, surpassing the minimum votes of 226 required, according to a parliament statement. While addressing the assembly, lawmaker Olexandr Kornienko, who initiated the dismissal of the speaker, said that Razumkov “deviated from general principles” of the ruling party Servant of the People and can not represent the party at the high level anymore.
Razumkov, 37 years old, was appointed as Ukraine’s parliament speaker on August 29, 2019.

EU weighs sending military training mission to Ukraine

Berlin [Germany]: The European Union is considering a Ukrainian military training mission after the eastern European nation asked for an allied military presence on its border with Russia, German media reported Sunday.
An EU working document, seen by the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, mentions an EU Military Advisory and Training Mission Ukraine for Ukrainian officers. The internal document justifies sending military personnel to Ukraine by Russia’s “ongoing military activities.” Ukrainian foreign and defense ministers reportedly asked for the training program in July in a letter addressed to EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell.
Russia denied claims by Ukraine and its Western allies that it amassed troops on its western border in spring to invade Ukraine. A Russian presidential spokesperson said in April that Russia was free to move military personnel anywhere within its borders.

Russia imposes sanctions against Ukrainian foreign minister, NSDC Secretary

Moscow [Russia]: Russia introduced sanctions against Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba as well as National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary Oleksiy Danilov, according to the decree published on the Official Portal of Legal Information.
“The list of individuals against whom special economic measures are being introduced are … Danilov Oleksiy, … Kuleba Dmitro,” the decree read. There are currently 922 people on Russia’s sanctions list.
Danilov, on his part, responded to the news on Facebook, saying that the sanctions imposed by Moscow against him were the best assessment of his work and a “gift” for the Ukrainian Independence Day.
The bilateral relations between Moscow and Kiev deteriorated in 2014 after Crimea reunited with Russia. The West sided with Ukraine in blaming the crisis on Russia, while Moscow rejected all accusations as baseless.

Team Of SS Rajamouli’s ‘RRR’ Heads To Ukraine

The team of SS Rajamouli’s ‘RRR’ has headed to Ukraine to shoot a song and a key fight scene.

Shooting is expected to be wrapped up in this schedule even if the makers are yet to confirm the same. They had previously announced that the final schedule is currently in progress but it remains to be seen if Rajamouli will wrap up shooting for the film finally. A source close to the film’s unit revealed that a massive jail set has been erected there and the scene they are shooting for will involve foreigners. Shooting will kick-start there from August 4 and last up to August 15.

Promotions for the film have already begun because it’s slated for release on October 13. A special number called Dosti was released on Friendship Day in five languages and featured five singers. Ever since Rajamouli commenced this project with two of Tollywood’s biggest stars, expectations have been high on it. Now as the release date is near, both Jr NTR and Ram Charan’s fans await powerful promotional content from the film. Shooting for the film has been in progress for a while now, so movie buffs are anxious to see what’s in store.

In RRR, Jr NTR plays a tribal man based on Komaram Bheem while Ram Charan plays a police officer based on Alluri Sitaramaraju. Alia Bhatt will be seen as Ram Charan’s wife Sita. Olivia Morris, Shriya Saran, Ajay Devgn, and others play pivotal roles in the film.

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