Kvyiv, Feb, 28: Ukraine on Monday claimed that 3,500 Russian troops have been killed since Moscow’s onslaught began last week, adding that over 200 soldiers were taken as prisoners of war. Kvyiv’s claims, however, were denied by the Kremlin at the United Nations. In a significant breakthrough amid war, both the countries have agreed to hold talks on the border of Belarus “without preconditions”, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. 352 civilians have been died in Ukraine , including 14 children, and 1,684 people, including 116 children, have been wounded, Kyiv has further said.
Here are ten updates on the Ukraine-Russia conflict:
1. In the biggest developments in the last 24 hours, Russia’s Vladimir Putin told his defence chiefs to put the country’s nuclear “deterrence forces” on high alert. “I order the defence minister and the chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces to put the deterrence forces of the Russian army into a special mode of combat service. You see that Western countries are not only unfriendly to our country in the economic sphere — I mean illegitimate sanctions,” he was quoted as saying by news agency AFP.
2. His remarks came after a spate of sanctions over the last few days from countries across the world over the Ukraine war. From sanctions on the country’s biggest banks to freeezing of Putin’s assets, several punitive measures have been taken against the Kremlin in the midst of an increasing global pressure.
3. In talks with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Zelenskyy early Monday said that ‘next 24 hours are critical for Ukraine’, Johnson said the UK and its allies would do everything possible to guarantee that defensive aid reached Ukraine, a Downing Street spokesperson was quoted as saying by news agency Reuters.
4. “There are dead and wounded among our comrades,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov was quoted as saying by news agency AP without offering any numbers. He, however, insited that Russia’s losses were “many times” fewer than those of Ukraine’s forces.
5. Ursula von der Leyen, the European Union chief, has said that the 27-nation bloc would close the airspace for planes owned, registered or controlled by Russians, “including the private jets of oligarchs,” news agency AP has reported. Canada too has closed its airspace for the Rusian airlines.
6. A rare emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly has been called on Monday. Speaking against the resolution to call the session, Russia’s ambassador told the United Nations – “The UNSC failed to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenanceof international peace & security.”
7. Tens of thousands of people from Ukraine have crossed borders to escape war since Thursday when Russia began its full-scale invasion in an escalating humanitarian crisis. Millions of children are at risk, the UNICEF has said.
8. The Russian forces have stepped up their onslaught and despite the developments over talks, the offensive has not stepped. In the capital city of Kyiv, visuals showed buildings being targeted and fighting reaching the streets. However, Zelenskyy has pledged to put up a strong fight.
9. Canada, France and Germany have pledged military aid to Ukraine. Zelenskyy last week had turned down an offer from the US for evacuation, saying: “I need ammunition…not a ride.”
10. In fresh measures, the UK has widened Russian ‘dirty money crakdown’ with a new law, Reuters reported. “There is no place for dirty money in the UK. We are going faster and harder to tear back the facade that those supporting (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s campaign of destruction have been hiding behind for so long,” Johnson has said.
(with inputs from AFP, Reuters, AP)