Russian troops launching ‘full-scale aggression against Ukraine’
Kiev streets look empty as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues
Russian forces are advancing closer towards Kiev, a senior US defence official has warned, amid fighting at Hostomel airport just outside the capital, and the loss of Chernobyl, 100km to the north, to Vladimir Putin’s forces on Thursday evening.
Ukraine’s military says Russia has already moved more than 60 battalion tactical groups across the border – each with roughly 700-900 troops. In a post on Facebook, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said Russian troops were launching “full-scale aggression against Ukraine”.
The offensive came on day one of what Ukraine described as a “full-scale invasion”, which had led to dozens of people being killed or injured. CCTV cameras earlier caught Russian military vehicles rolling through border force checkpoints as ground troops crossed the Crimea border into Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden has announced harsh new sanctions coordinated with allies in the UK and EU. “Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences,” Mr Biden said.
Japan and Australia respond with sanctions
The morning has broken in Asia and Australasia, triggering fresh reaction from capitals there to the worsening situation in Ukraine.
Australia has imposed more sanctions against Russia targeting several of its elite citizens and lawmakers, and said it was “unacceptable” that China was easing trade restrictions with Moscow at this time.
“We will work along with our partners for a rolling wave of sanctions and continuing to ratchet up that pressure on Russia,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said during a media conference.
Japan said it will strengthen sanctions against Russia to include financial institutions and military equipment exports.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that Tokyo would take aim at Russian financial institutions and individuals with the sanctions, which would be imposed immediately, as well as halt exports of military-use goods such as semiconductors.
Tom Batchelor25 February 2022 01:19
India fails to condemn Russian actions in Ukraine
India has so far avoided condemning Russian actions in Ukraine, although Prime Minister Narendra Modi did urge an end to violence there in a call with Vladimir Putin.
Joe Biden said Washington is in still unresolved “consultations” with India, when asked if Washington and Delhi were fully in sync on a response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
India has developed close ties with Washington in recent years but has a long-standing close relationship with Moscow, which remains a major supplier of its defense equipment.
Tom Batchelor25 February 2022 01:09
China arranging evacuation flights with 6,000 nationals in Ukraine
Chinese nationals are being invited to register for chartered flights to leave Ukraine, having previously resisted urging its citizens to leave.
In a notice on the Chinese embassy’s official WeChat account, it said people could register to leave until 27 February, at which point the flights would be arranged.
There are 6,000 Chinese nationals in the Ukraine, said a spokesperson from the embassy.
Tom Batchelor25 February 2022 00:57
UK sanctions will have little impact on Putin despite Boris Johnson’s claims, say experts
Huge holes in financial sanctions and the “grotesque underfunding” of crime agencies have weakened the UK’s ability to fight back against Vladimir Putin, experts have said.
Lawyers told The Independent that a fresh round of sanctions announced today would be ineffective and largely symbolic, despite Boris Johnson’s claims that new measures would “hobble” Russia’s economy.
Here is the story:
Tom Batchelor25 February 2022 00:45
UN to vote on Friday on draft Ukraine resolution
The United Nations Security Council will vote on Friday on a draft resolution that would condemn Russia for invading Ukraine and require Moscow to immediately and unconditionally withdraw – although the measure is doomed to fail since Moscow can cast a veto (Reuters reports).
The US-drafted resolution is then expected to be taken up by the 193-member UN General Assembly within days, a senior US administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.
Although action will be blocked in the 15-member Security Council, Washington and allies see a vote as a chance to show Moscow is isolated over its actions. Diplomats said it appeared at least 11 members would vote in favour, while it was unclear how China, India and the United Arab Emirates would vote.
The draft Security Council resolution, seen by Reuters, would condemn Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine, demand it “immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces” and reverse its recognition of separatist regions in eastern Ukraine as independent.
Tom Batchelor25 February 2022 00:30
Ukraine death toll hits 137 with 316 wounded as Russian assault intensifies
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky has said 137 people have been killed, and 316 wounded so far.
Here is the latest:
Tom Batchelor25 February 2022 00:07
Zelensky bans 18-60-year-old men from leaving Ukraine as he orders full military mobilisation
Ukraine’s interior ministry has banned men aged between 18 and 60 from leaving the country as it seeks to bolster its defences against the Russian invasion.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has ordered a full military mobilisation to counter the Russian invasion.
In a decree issued late on Thursday, he said the the mobilisation would last 90 days.
He has tasked the military’s general staff with determining the number of people eligible for service and the number of reservists as well as the order of the call-up.
Tom Batchelor25 February 2022 00:03
CNN reporter comes face-to-face with Russian soldiers
Remarkable footage shows CNN journalist Matthew Chance and his camera crew within metres of Russian airborne troops as they fight with Ukrainian forces near the country’s capital.
Mr Chance says in the clip that he has spoken with the head of the Russian unit and at one point urges the person filming the report to stand up and show the Russian troops, who were fighting at an airbase outside Kiev.
Tom Batchelor24 February 2022 23:56
US warns Putin has grander ambitions than Ukraine
Vladimir Putin has grander ambitions than Ukraine, the White House said when asked about the Russian leader’s ultimate goals.
Earlier, President Joe Biden said his Russian counterpart “wants to, in fact, re-establish the former Soviet Union”.
Tom Batchelor24 February 2022 23:37
White House ‘outraged’ over reports of Chernobyl hostage-taking
The White House has said it is “outraged” at reports of hostages at the facilities at Chernobyl following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The unverified reports from earlier in the day suggested Russian troops was holding personnel who had been working at nuclear power plant.
The White House called the reports “credible”.
“We’re outraged by credible reports that Russian soldiers are currently holding the staff of the Chernobyl facilities hostage,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
“This unlawful and dangerous hostage-taking which could upend the routine civil service efforts required to maintain and protect the nuclear waste facility is obviously incredibly alarming and incredibly concerning, and we request their release.”
Tom Batchelor24 February 2022 23:29
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