Moscow: The first explosions of war were heard in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa and other cities across Ukraine on Thursday morning, 24 February 2022, after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine.
Putin has issued the warning that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to consequences not witnessed before. The attack was needed to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine, Putin has underscored.
In a televised address, Putin earlier accused the US and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demand to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and offer Moscow security guarantees.
Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on Thursday evening. Topmost priority of the Indian Government is safety and evacuation of Indian nationals, including students, about 20000 of them in all. MEA Teams from Indian embassies in Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Romania
US President Joe Biden in a written statement said “President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”
“I will be monitoring the situation from the White House this evening and will continue to get regular updates from my national security team. Tomorrow, I will meet with my G7 counterparts in the morning and then speak to the American people to announce the further consequences the United States and our Allies and partners will impose on Russia for this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security.”
After launching full-fledged war against Ukraine, Russia claimed stability of the financial system in the face of sanctions and external threats.
The Russian Government claims that it has developed clear plans for measures to protect financial markets and individual companies from possible sanctions and other threats. As part of this work, simulations (stress tests) of the consequences of the imposition of sanctions were carried out. As a result, clear action plans were formed. The financial market and the largest companies are fully prepared for their implementation.
OFZ auctions will be suspended in the coming weeks. A significant amount of temporarily free funds in the unified treasury account of the federal budget (more than 4.5 trillion rubles, with net borrowings planned for 2022 of 2.2 trillion rubles) allows for a flexible approach to the placement schedule.
The Ministry of Finance of Russia, together with the Bank of Russia, will continue to closely monitor the situation in the financial markets and, if necessary, will take additional measures to maintain financial stability.
The Government of the Russian Federation will help ensure the sustainable operation of companies included in the sanctions list, the preservation of jobs and wages.
A restricted meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council was also hosted by Russia on Thursday, It was attended by Prime Ministers of the Republic of Russian Federation – Mikhail Mishustin; Armenia – Nikol Pashinyan; Republic of Belarus – Roman Golovchenko; Republic of Kazakhstan – Alikhan Smailov; along with the Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office of the Kyrgyz Republic – Chairman of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council – Akylbek Japarov; and Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission Board -Mikhail Myasnikovich.
During the day, Putin also kept his meeting, scheduled much in advance, with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. The two discussed bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on topical regional issues, including the situation in South Asia.
On Thursday, after war broke, NATO held an emergency meeting of the North Atlantic Council to respond to what has been termed as “Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked” attack on Ukraine.
The North Atlantic Council has decided to activate NATO’s defence plans to protect Allied nations during this crisis. “We will continue to do whatever is necessary to shield the Alliance from aggression,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated.
We condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia’s horrifying attack on Ukraine, which is entirely unjustified and unprovoked. Our thoughts are with all those killed and injured, and with the people of Ukraine. We also condemn Belarus for enabling this attack.
This renewed attack is a grave violation of international law, including the UN Charter, and is wholly contradictory to Russia’s commitments in the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter of Paris, the Budapest Memorandum and the NATO-Russia Founding Act. It constitutes an act of aggression against an independent peaceful country.
We stand with the people of Ukraine and its legitimate, democratically elected president, parliament and government. We will always maintain our full support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders, including its territorial waters.
We call on Russia to immediately cease its military action and withdraw all its forces from in and around Ukraine, to fully respect international humanitarian law, and to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access and assistance to all persons in need.
We strongly condemn Russia’s decision to extend recognition to the separatist regions of eastern Ukraine. This further violates Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and contravenes the Minsk agreements, to which Russia is a signatory. Allies will never accept this illegal recognition.
We urge Russia in the strongest terms to turn back from the path of violence and aggression it has chosen. Russia’s leaders must bear full responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Russia will pay a very heavy economic and political price. NATO will continue to coordinate closely with relevant stakeholders and other international organisations including the EU.
Throughout this crisis, NATO, the Allies, and our partners have made every effort to pursue diplomacy and dialogue with Russia, including at the highest levels, and made many substantive proposals to enhance the security of all nations in the Euro-Atlantic region. We have repeatedly invited Russia to talks in the NATO-Russia Council. Russia has still not reciprocated. It is Russia, and Russia alone, which has chosen escalation.
Russia’s actions pose a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security, and they will have geostrategic consequences. NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure the security and defence of all Allies. We are deploying additional defensive land and air forces to the eastern part of the Alliance, as well as additional maritime assets. We have increased the readiness of our forces to respond to all contingencies.
Today, we have held consultations under Article 4 of the Washington Treaty. We have decided, in line with our defensive planning to protect all Allies, to take additional steps to further strengthen deterrence and defence across the Alliance. Our measures are and remain preventive, proportionate and non-escalatory.
Our commitment to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty is iron-clad. We stand united to defend each other.