Russia launches special military operation on Ukraine’s Donbas

by Ashis Sinha

#India calls for immediate de-escalation of tensions between Russia and Ukraine

RNS: Russia has begun a special military operation in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine. A number of Ukrainian cities received missile assaults from ballistic missiles this morning.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President urged Ukrainian soldiers who are facing off Russian-backed rebels to lay down weapons and return to their homes.  However, he said Russia did not plan to occupy Ukraine but warned that Moscow’s response would be instant if anyone tries to take on Russia.

Meanwhile, Ukraine claimed that Putin launched a full-scale invasion. Dmytro Kuleba, Foreign Minister Ukraine said peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes and this is a war of aggression. “Ukraine will defend itself and will win,” he added.

Russia had almost 200,000 troops and thousands of combat vehicles on Ukraine’s borders, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Joe Biden, President US, indicated that the United States and its allies will respond in a united and decisive manner to a Russian military attack on Ukraine. “Russia and Vladimir Putin will be held accountable for a premeditated conflict that will result in devastating loss of life and human misery,” he said.

Russia is launching its military operation just days after recognizing the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. The breakaway regions, which control large areas of the Donbas region, later asked Moscow for military support.

Russia has long resisted Ukraine’s move towards European institutions, both NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) and the EU (European Union). Now, Putin has claimed Ukraine is a puppet of the West and was never a proper state anyway.

Putin has repeatedly accused US and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demands to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO military alliance and offer Moscow security guarantees.

Notably, Ukraine, as a former Soviet country, has extensive social and cultural ties with Russia, and Russian is widely spoken there, but those ties have deteriorated since Russia invaded in 2014.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian diplomat Igor Polikha appealed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene. He urged Modi to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop any more military adventure.

“Modiji is a respected leader. India has a privileged partnership with Russia. I don’t know how many world leaders Putin may listen to but the status of Modi ji makes me hopeful. In case of his strong voice, Putin at least should think over. We are expecting for much more favourable attitude of the Indian government,” said Polikha during a press briefing.

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