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Sunday, June 11, 2023

Russia starts special military operation in Ukraine, claims Ukrainian air defence and airforce has been taken out

Shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised a special military operation in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, a series of explosions hit Ukraine’s largest airport Boryspil and several military objects in eastern and southern regions of the country on Thursday, according to Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

It is believed that Russian military has launched precision missile strikes on Ukrainian military command facilities, air bases and military depots. Russia’s Defence Ministry has claimed that it has taken out Ukraine’s air defences and airforce with a series of precision attacks. Russian officials also claimed that Ukrainian border guards are not resisting the advancing Russian troops in the Donbas region.

Donbas comprises the rebel regions of Luhansk and Donetsk which were declared as independent states earlier this week by the Russian leader which led to widespread Western condemnation and sanctions against Moscow.

Media reports said there were also attacks in Kharkiv city in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border, in Kramatorsk town in the frontline in eastern Ukraine, in Vasylkiv city near Kiev, in Dnipro city in central Ukraine as well as in the southern port city of Odessa.

FLASHPOINT UKRAINE. (Infographics:Pinaki Paul/IANS)

Putin said in a televised address on Thursday morning that in response to a request from the heads of the Donbas Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, he had decided to conduct a special military operation to protect the people “who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Ukrainian regime for eight years”.

Putin said Russia did not plan to occupy Ukraine, but warned that Moscow’s response would be “instant” if anyone tries to take on Russia. He said that the Ukrainian people would be able to choose freely who runs the country and reiterated that his country’s actions were in self-defence.

The Russian leader urged the Ukrainian soldiers who are facing off Russian-backed rebels to lay down weapons and return to their homes. He also told them that their “fathers and grandfathers did not fight so they could help neo-Nazis”. Putin added that clashes between Ukrainian and Russian forces were “inevitable” and “only a question of time”.

Authorities in Kiev have described the Russian action as a “full-scale invasion”.

In a last ditch appeal before Putin made the announcement, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia could start “a major war in Europe” and urged Russian citizens to oppose it. Condemning Putin’s latest move as “unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces”, US President Joe Biden said that the Russian leader has “chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering”.

Ukraine, a part of the former Soviet Union, is considered by most Russians as a part of a larger shared civilization, a feeling shared by many Ukrainians, especially in the eastern part of that country, as well. Once the USSR dissolved in 1991, the West had assured Russia that NATO will not advance eastwards. But over the years, a concerned Russia watched as NATO did exactly the opposite, and color revolutions stage managed by the US swept across countries like Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Georgia etc.

In 2014, the Maidan protests led to a US-backed far-right coup in Ukraine that toppled the country’s legitimately elected government, sending then president Viktor Yanukovych fleeing for his life to neighboring Russia. In response, Russia took control of Crimea and leaders of Donetsk and Luhansk regions declared independence from Ukraine. But as Ukraine kept edging ever closer to NATO and US kept providing military aid to it, tensions increased since late last year with Russia demanding that Ukraine be kept out of NATO and for the West to offer security guarantees to Russia.

Putin has repeatedly said he will not allow a hostile, militarized Ukraine on Russia’s border, and today’s events show he will do whatever it takes. USA and the Western nations have been pressurizing the rest of the international community, including Bharat, to toe their line over the crisis, expecting other nations to ignore their own national interests and Western double standards.

What is the need for NATO to aggressively expand and militarize a sensitive part of the world? Some sane academic voices in America too had predicted exactly what we are seeing today.

During a UN Security Council briefing today on the situation in Ukraine, Bharat has reiterated that the situation in Ukraine can be resolved only through diplomatic dialogue that leads to an immediate de-escalation of tensions while ensuring the legitimate security interests of all countries.

TS Tirumurti, Bharat’s permanent representative to the United Nations, said Bharat believes a solution can be found through dialogue under the Normandy format and the Minsk Agreements, which provide a basis for a “negotiated and peaceful settlement of the situation in eastern Ukraine”. The Normandy format talks involve Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France, and the Minsk Agreements were finalised in 2014 to end fighting in the Donbas region.

Bharat is also facilitating the speedy return of over 20,000 Bharatiya students from Ukraine.

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  1. Russia is a sovereign country. So is Ukraine. Russia must honor & respect the sovereignty of Ukraine. It follows therefore, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is not at all justfied. Putin has ordered its troop to march into and capture Donbas Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk — all belonging to Ukraine.
    In the pretext of supporting the separatists in another sovereign country (here it is Ukraine), Russia cannot invade another sovereign country. Could Russia dare to wage such an attack against China on similar pretext to protect the interest its people in its south-eastern province (city of Khabarovsk)? There has been a steady influx of Chinese across this border over the past decade changing the demography of this border province of Russia.
    Ukraine is the potentially feeble opponent. It has neither air power nor naval power. It has only army which cannot withstand the superiror military might of Russia if not NATO directly gets involved.


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