We monitor for you the most prominent developments of the Russian Ukrainian war today, a nuclear threat, different international positions, and racism emerging on the borders.
As a reaction to the airspace closures of several countries for Russian aircraft, aircraft from 36 countries will no longer be allowed to fly over Russia.
This was announced today by the Russian aviation authority Rosawiazija. A published list mentions other European countries such as Germany, Poland, France, Finland, the Czech Republic and Belgium. Canada is also affected. It was not announced when this restriction would be lifted.
The EU countries had previously decided to block their airspace. Russia then announced that it would also no longer allow machines from the respective countries to fly into Russian airspace.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov canceled a trip to a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council and disarmament talks in Geneva in view of the ban. However, it is possible that Lavrov will speak via video link. The UN Human Rights Council is holding an emergency meeting at the request of the Ukrainian delegation.Russian Ukrainian War.
Russia: Deterrent weapons on alert
The Russian Defense Ministry has put the nuclear power’s deterrent weapons on increased alert. Minister Sergei Shoigu said this to Russian President Vladimir Putin today, according to a statement from the agency.
Specifically, he named the strategic missile troops, the Northern and Pacific fleets and the long-distance aviation forces. Putin ordered the move in response to aggressive statements by NATO.
Alert in response to sanctions
In a video distributed yesterday by the Kremlin, Putin spoke of deterrence weapons and did not explicitly mention nuclear weapons.
“The top figures of the leading NATO countries allow aggressive statements against our country, so I order the Minister of Defense and the Chief of the General Staff to place the forces of deterrence of the Russian army in a special regime of alert.”
Putin also said: “You see that Western countries are not only taking unfriendly actions against our country. In the economic sphere – I mean the illegitimate sanctions that everyone is well aware of.” The EU and the US had previously imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia.Russian Ukrainian War.
Putin: “Russia one of the most powerful nuclear powers in the world”
In his statement on the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine last Thursday, Putin warned against engaging in aggression against Russia. He threatened the harshest consequences and stressed that Russia is now one of “the most powerful nuclear powers in the world”.
Putin also held a large-scale exercise by the nuclear forces on February 19. Weapons without nuclear warheads were used.
Sipri: Use of nuclear weapons unlikely
After Putin’s speech, the Stockholm peace research institute Sipri announced that it did not expect the Ukraine war to lead to the use of nuclear weapons.
“I don’t think nuclear war is a likely consequence of this crisis,” Sipri director Dan Smith told dpa in Scandinavia. “If nuclear weapons exist, then unfortunately there is always this small possibility. And that would be catastrophic.”
UNHCR: More than 500,000 fled Ukraine
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 500,000 people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries since Thursday. Since yesterday evening, the number of refugees has increased by around 80,000.
In addition, as a result of the Russian invasion, a six-figure number of people have been displaced within Ukraine, UNHCR spokesman Chris Melzer said today. An exact estimate of the number of internally displaced persons is currently not possible. The information relates to the status of yesterday evening.
Poland and Romania as target countries
So far, most of the refugees have made their way to Poland. According to the Polish border guard, there have been more than 281,000 since the beginning of the war. According to a spokeswoman today, almost 100,000 refugees crossed the border yesterday alone. According to UNHCR, the other important target countries are Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Slovakia.
More than 70,000 war refugees from neighboring Ukraine have arrived in Romania since the Russian attack began. Of these, more than 37,000 have now traveled to other European countries, government spokesman Dan Carbunaru said in Bucharest today. During that period, 373 Ukrainians applied for asylum in Romania.
Another wave of refugees expected in Romania
Romania’s civil protection chief Raed Arafat expects another wave of refugees in the next few days. In the Romanian town of Siret near the Ukrainian border, there are 400 places in mobile emergency shelters, 120 of which are currently occupied. Romania has refugee accommodation in public buildings in other border towns that have hardly been occupied to date.
The stopover in Moldova is becoming increasingly important for the Ukrainian refugees on their way to Romania. According to the government, more than half of the 21,324 Ukrainians who have entered Romania in the last 24 hours alone came from Moldova, which borders Romania and Ukraine. Germany has so far reported 1,800 people who have fled. Russian Ukrainian War.
Latvia allows citizens to volunteer for combat
Latvia allows its citizens to volunteer on the Ukrainian side in the fight against the Russian attack. Today, the parliament in Riga unanimously passed the necessary legal requirements.
The adopted changes to the national security law allow Latvian citizens to serve in Ukraine on a voluntary basis – without fear of possible prosecution on their return to the Baltic EU and NATO country. To do this, they must register as reservists with the Latvian army before leaving.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba previously tweeted that foreigners should help Ukraine defend against the Russian attack.
His Latvian colleague Edgars Rinkevics then called on Parliament to deal with an exception for Latvian citizens. So far it has not been possible for them to serve abroad or in foreign military and security structures. Regulated exceptions only applied to associations from EU and NATO countries.
Appeals to Russia in UN General Assembly
At an emergency session of the UN General Assembly on the Ukraine war, Russia was urged to end the attack. “The fighting in Ukraine must end now,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said today after a minute’s silence at the start of the session. China also advocated a peaceful solution and warned of a new Cold War.
“This escalation of violence resulting in civilian deaths including children is totally unacceptable. Enough is enough,” Guterres said. The “worst humanitarian and refugee crisis in Europe in decades” is looming.
Admittedly, “the guns would now speak”; but it is never too late for negotiations to address “all issues peacefully”. Guterres spoke of a “scary” development: “The mere idea of a nuclear conflict is simply unimaginable.”
China: “Cold War ended long ago”
Noteworthy was the Chinese representative’s statement: “Ukraine should serve as a communication bridge between East and West, and not as a front line of rivalry between major powers,” said Beijing’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun.
An atmosphere for direct talks would have to be created, and tensions should not be exacerbated. “The Cold War ended long ago. The Cold War mentality based on bloc confrontation should be abandoned.”
Zelenski signed a formal request for EU membership
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he has signed a formal request for his country’s admission to the European Union. “We are turning to the EU for the immediate admission of Ukraine under a new special procedure,” Zelensky said today.
High-ranking EU circles said that this could be an issue for heads of state and government at an unofficial EU summit in March. A resolution will be voted on tomorrow in the EU Parliament urging Ukraine to join the EU.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in an interview: “Over time, they actually belong to us. They are one of us and we want them in.”
Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) was cautious. “Basically, it’s not an offer, it’s a reaction,” said Schallenberg to Ö1 about the Leyens’ statement. It was a “big wish from the Ukrainian side” and it was also a “big topic” in the talks with Zelensky three weeks ago.
“It’s totally understandable emotionally in this situation, I just don’t think it solves the acute crisis at the moment,” said the Foreign Minister. He further emphasized that if the Ukrainian people wished to participate in “European life, then we should also support it – but it does not necessarily have to be full membership”.
Talks between Russia and Ukraine on a potential cease-fire ended without any immediate agreement on Monday as Moscow intensified its assault.