Global reactions pour in against Putin’s actions in Ukraine

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After Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised what he called a special military operation, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a tweet that Russia had launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and was targeting cities with weapon strikes.

New Delhi: Global reactions to the unprecedented actions from Russian President Vladimir Putin against Ukraine are pouring in. Experts also say that perhaps the Russian President has got himself “isolated in a bubble of yes-men” who hardly caution him against making wrong and dangerous moves.

“Many commentators say he is trying to restore the Soviet Union or recreate a Russian sphere of influence on his country’s borders and that this week’s intrusion into eastern Ukraine is the first step towards an all-out attack on Kyiv to topple its government and even move against the Baltic states,” says Jonathan Steele in ‘The Guardian’.

Steele is a ‘Guardian columnist’, roving foreign correspondent and author. Since 9/11, he has reported from Afghanistan and Iraq, among other places. He, however, adds – “None of these assertions is necessarily true.”

France’s President Emmanuel Macron, who had made a last-ditch effort to broker peace through a summit between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, said: “France strongly condemns Russia’s decision to wage war on Ukraine. Russia must end its military operations immediately.” He said, “France stands in solidarity with Ukraine. It stands with the Ukrainians and works with its partners and allies to end the war.”

Ukraine itself has accused Russia of moving military equipment into the country from the annexed Crimea. After Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised what he called a special military operation, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a tweet that Russia had launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and was targeting cities with weapon strikes.

Reportedly, half of Russia’s air force is now deployed near Ukraine. Russian warships have been conducting training exercises in the Black Sea. Footage released by Russia shows a Ka-27PS helicopter taking off and landing on the deck of a frigate during exercises.

Vladimir Putin has demanded legal guarantees that Ukraine will never join NATO or host its missile strike systems. A flurry of diplomatic activity, including efforts by France for a Summit between the Russian President and his US counterpart, has done little to ease tensions.

US sanctions are aimed at hurting Russia’s ability to finance its military efforts: Two state-owned banks – which the US says are key to Russia’s defence sector – will no longer do business in the US or access its financial system. Five people described as part of Putin’s inner circle have been sanctioned, and restrictions have been placed on US deals involving Russia’s national debt. Americans are now banned from doing business in Luhansk and Donetsk.

The European Union is sanctioning 27 Russian individuals and organisations, including banks. It is also limiting access to European capital markets — cutting off the ability to access funds from EU banks – and banning trade between the EU and the two rebel-held regions. Some 351 members of Russia’s Duma, parliament’s lower house, are also being targeted with sanctions. German chancellor Olaf Scholz has put on hold permission for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany to open.

Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced sanctions against five Russian banks and three wealthy Russian businessmen, and threatened further moves.

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