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As the war in Ukraine enters its eleventh day, here is a preview of our coverage of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis:
Eleven days after Russia invaded Ukraine, evacuation efforts from India have entered a critical phase with all eyes on the city of Sumy in northeastern Ukraine, near from the Russian border, where around 700 Indians, mostly students, are waiting to be rescued – the country’s last large group still stranded there. Officials said a team from the Indian embassy is stationed in Poltava, a city in central Ukraine, through which they hope to coordinate the safe passage of students from Sumy to the western border. The students were told to be ready to leave at short notice, they said.
Germany is one of Russia’s closest partners in Europe and has deep historical, political and economic ties. With Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, Germany, which depends on Russia for its energy needs, has decided to reverse its seven-decade policy of not supplying conflict zones with weapons. Walter J Lindner talks about Russian aggression against Ukraine, the lessons of German history, the pressure put on Putin and the role of civil society. He was in conversation with Shubhajit Roy, Deputy National Bureau Chief, The Indian Express.
The current Russian invasion of Ukraine – unlike previous wars in Iraq and Libya or sanctions against Iran – is not only impacting energy prices. The effects of disruptions to shipping across the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, as well as the cutting off of Russian banks from the international payment system, extend even to global agricultural commodity markets. The reasons are not difficult to understand: Russia is not only the world’s third largest producer of oil (after the United States and Saudi Arabia) and the second largest producer of natural gas (after the United States), besides the third largest coal exporter (behind Australia and Indonesia). It is also the second wheat exporter. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in its latest report on February 9, estimated the country’s shipments for 2021-22 (July-June) at 35 million tonnes (mt), alongside only 37.5 mt from the whole of Europe. Union.
Amid ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine, India has abstained from a US-sponsored United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution that deplores Russia’s actions in the strongest terms. Explaining his abstention, India’s permanent representative to the UN, TS Tirumurti, said: “India is deeply troubled by the recent turn of events in Ukraine. “Dialogue is the only answer to settling disputes and disagreements, as daunting as it may seem right now. It is regrettable that the path of diplomacy has been abandoned. We have to come back to it. For all these reasons, India chose to abstain on this resolution,” Tirumurti said.
India’s abstention is explained by experts as a balancing act aimed at maintaining friends and partners on both sides. It is also a legacy of Nehruvian’s non-aligned foreign policy and how the two countries interacted with each other within the United Nations.
Belarus, the largest landlocked European country bordering the two warring nations, has found itself in a precarious position amid its political proximity to Russia. The country is now the recipient of economic sanctions from the West, intended to deter the Russian assault on Ukraine, despite restrictions already in place after the controversial election of its president, Alexander Lukashenko. The Belarusian border serves as a place for dialogue between Russia and Ukraine to eventually end the war. However, the first and second rounds of talks did not lead to any significant breakthrough. Historically, Belarus has served as the site of negotiations between the two nations – two sets of agreements were signed in the Belarusian capital of Minsk in 2014 and 2015 to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Alexey Kupriyanov, Senior Researcher at Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, while explaining the current situation in a chat with The Indian Express, said: “ Ukraine is the same as Pakistan for India. And so, we are going to have our peaceful Pakistan, and pro-Indian Pakistan on our border. In Russian political discourse, the thesis about the events in Ukraine in 2014 is that the revolution in Ukraine, as depicted in Western media, was in fact a coup and a forced change of power. And this has been supported by far-right groups. And many of these groups then fought in the Donbass against the Russians. Thus, President Volodymyr Zelensky was elected under the flag of peace. He was supported by the sections that supported the peaceful settlement of [the conflict in] Donbass.
“But, Zelensky could not find this solution, and so he instead tried to balance his position between the far right and the more peaceful groups in Ukraine. And just a month and a half ago he shut down the last peace channel in Ukraine, the pro-peace channel, that’s why I think Putin called it a Nazi regime or a Nazi-supported regime” , he added.
Stressing that it would be difficult for any country to continue buying military equipment from Russia after US sanctions in response to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the Assistant Secretary of State for Asian Affairs South and Central Donald Lu told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday that in the “Over the past ‘weeks’, ‘what we have seen from India…is the cancellation of orders for MiG- 29, orders for Russian helicopters and orders for anti-tank weapons.” Contacted in New Delhi, a Defense Ministry spokesman declined to comment on Lu’s remarks. Lu, who called India “a really important security partner,” was speaking at the Senate hearing hours after the United Nations General Assembly vote on “Russian aggression,” including India, along with 34 other countries, including China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka abstained.