Russia-Ukraine tensions highlights:
The United States and its allies sought on Wednesday to step up sanctions pressure on Russia on Wednesday over the deployment of troops in separatist regions of eastern Ukraine, in one of the worst security crises in Europe in decades. The Ukrainian military said one soldier had been killed and six wounded in increased shelling by pro-Russian separatists using heavy artillery, mortar bombs and Grad rocket systems in the two breakaway regions over the previous 24 hours.
Ukraine’s security council has asked the country’s parliament to declare a state of emergency throughout, except for Donetsk and Luhansk, which are under the control of Russia-backed separatists and have been declared independent regions by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ukraine’s citizens have also been allowed to carry firearms for self-defence.
Meanwhile, Russia has started evacuating its diplomatic staff from Ukraine.
Putin has massed more than 150,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders, according to U.S. estimates, and signed a decree on the deployment of troops in the breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk enclaves to “keep the peace” – a justification the United States says is “nonsense”. Putin on Monday recognised the separatist enclaves in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine which adjoin Russia, deepening Western fears of a major war in Europe by raising the prospect of a full-scale invasion beyond the breakaway areas.
The United States, the European Union, Britain, Australia, Canada and Japan responded with plans to target banks and elites while Germany froze a major gas pipeline project from Russia. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, announcing more measures on Wednesday, said Britain would stop Russia selling sovereign debt in London.
First Published: IST