18 Killed Near Ukraine’s Odessa; Biden Vows to ‘Hold Russia Accountable’, Will Impose New Sanctions

Moscow, as he vowed retaliation against anyone who interfered. He also called on the Ukraine military to lay down its arms.

Minutes after Putin’s announcement, explosions were heard in several key Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv and Kharkiv.

The airspace over the Ukraine-Russia border has now been restricted, turning it into a no-go zone for commercial aviation. Multiple Ukrainian airports in the East have suspended all operations tonight, including Kharkiv.

Meanwhile, the Indian embassy in Ukraine on Thursday asked Indian nationals to maintain calm and remain safe wherever they are as Russia carried out a military operation in Ukraine triggering a major confrontation between the two sides. It said in view of closure of Ukranian airspace for civilian aircraft, alternative arrangements are being made for evacuation of Indian nationals.

It also said the embassy will convey information about it as soon as such arrangements are finalised, so that Indian nationals can relocate to the western part of the country. “The present situation in Ukraine is highly uncertain. Please maintain calm and remain safe wherever you are, be it in your homes, hostels, accommodation or in transit,” the Indian embassy said in a fresh advisory. “All those who are travelling to Kyiv, including those travelling from western parts of Kyiv, are advised to return to their respective cities temporarily, especially towards safer places along the western bordering countries,” it said in an advisory.

The embassy issued a second advisory of the day a few hours later. “This is to inform all Indian nationals in Ukraine that since the Ukrainian airspace has been closed the schedule for special flights stands cancelled. Alternative arrangements are being made for evacuation of Indian nationals,” it said.

Official sources in New Delhi said India is looking at ways to assist its nationals, especially the students, in Ukraine. They said India is closely monitoring the “rapidly changing” situation in Ukraine and how to assist the Indians in that country.

The situation in Ukraine deteriorated after President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine, triggering serious concerns over the possibility of a full-scale military confrontation between the two countries.

Following Putin’s announcement, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said an “invasion” could be the beginning of a “big war” in Europe.

(with inputs from agencies)

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