10 Points on Ukraine Russia Crisis

Russia’s defence ministry Friday said its forces had captured the strategic Hostomel aerodrome, just 7 km (4 miles) northwest of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, and landed paratroops in the area. In the operation, more than 200 people were eliminated from the Ukraine special units, it added. The ministry claimed the Russian military had blocked access to Kyiv from the west, and separatist forces in east Ukraine had attacked Ukrainian army positions with Russian army support. The Russian military said that it will not strike residential areas of Kyiv.

Earlier in the day, Russia pressed on with its invasion of Ukraine on Friday, attacking the country from multiple sides and advancing towards Kyiv, where multiple explosions were heard in the early hours.

The West imposed fresh sanctions on Russia, aimed at cutting off its largest banks and preventing the country from importing critical technology.

Here are 10 new developments on Russia-Ukraine conflict:

????  Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba Friday alleged that Russian forces have attacked a kindergarten and an orphanage. “Today’s Russian attacks on a kindergarten and an orphanage are war crimes and violations of the Rome Statute. Together with the General Prosecutor’s Office we are collecting this and other facts, which we will immediately send to the Hague. Responsibility is inevitable,” Kuleba tweeted.

???? Air India is planning to send two flights to Romanian capital Bucharest to evacuate Indians stranded in Ukraine due to Russian invasion, senior government officials said. Those Indian nationals, who have reached the Ukraine-Romania border by road, will be taken to Bucharest by the Indian government officials so that they can be evacuated in the two AI flights, PTI reported. The two Air India flights will depart from Bucharest on Saturday. Around 20,000 Indians — mainly students — are currently stranded in Ukraine after the country closed its airspace as amid fast-paced escalation of tension with Russia.

???? Russian forces took control of the Chernobyl nuclear plant site after a fierce battle with Ukrainian national guards, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told The Associated Press. The condition of the plant’s facilities, a confinement shelter and a repository for nuclear waste is unknown, he said.

An official familiar with current assessments said Russian shelling hit a radioactive waste repository at Chernobyl, and an increase in radiation levels was reported. The increase could not be immediately corroborated.

???? President Joe Biden, vowing to turn President Vladimir Putin of Russia into a “pariah,” announced new sanctions Thursday aimed at cutting off Russia’s largest banks and preventing the country from importing critical US technology, The New York Times reported.

???? In the early hours of Friday, several explosions were heard in different parts of the Kyiv, prompting the city’s Mayor Vitaly Klitschko to appeal to the 3 million residents to stay indoors unless they worked in critical sectors. He said everyone should prepare go-bags with necessities, such as medicine and documents.

???? The United Nations said it would immediately allocate $20 million to scale up UN humanitarian operations in Ukraine. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, making the announcement, said the UN and its humanitarian partners “are committed to staying and delivering, to support people in Ukraine in their time of need…regardless of who or where they are”.

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said the $20 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund will support emergency operations along the contact line in eastern Donetsk and Luhansk and in other areas of the country, and will “help with health care, shelter, food, and water and sanitation to the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict”.

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???? In a televised address, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he is Russia’s number one target, and his family number two, AFP reported. “They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the Head of State,” he said, adding that he is staying in the government quarter together with all those who are needed for the central government to work.

A view shows the wreckage of an unidentified aircraft in a residential area in Kyiv, Ukraine, in this handout picture released February 25, 2022. (Press service of the Ukrainian State Emergency Service/Handout via REUTERS)

???? NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called Russia’s attack “a brutal act of war” and said Moscow had shattered peace on the European continent, AP reported. The head of the UN refugee agency urged neighbouring countries to keep their borders open for Ukrainians fleeing the fighting.

???? Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to Putin and appealed for an immediate cessation of violence. He also called for concerted efforts from all sides to return to the path of dialogue, said a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held separate telephonic conversations with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, insisting that dialogue and diplomacy are the best way forward to defuse the Ukraine crisis.

???? The Ukrainian ambassador to Japan is urging China to join international efforts to stop the Russian “massacre” in his country amid Beijing’s lack of criticism of Moscow’s actions, AP reported. “We would very much welcome that China exercises its connection with Russia and talks to Putin and explains to him that it is inappropriate in the 21st century to do this massacre in Europe,” Ukrainian diplomat Sergiy Korsunsky told a news conference in Tokyo.

???? Thousands of Russians, shocked by the invasion, took to the streets in several cities, and signed open letters and online petitions demanding the Kremlin halt the assault. Nearly 2,000 people were detained by the police.

???? UEFA will be stripped of hosting the Champions League final in St. Petersburg after Russia launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine on Thursday, AP reported. An extraordinary meeting of the UEFA executive committee will be held on Friday to discuss the geopolitical crisis and when officials are set to confirm taking the May 28 showpiece game out of Russia, a person with knowledge of the process said on Thursday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private talks.

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