The war in Ukraine: what you need to know as Putin escalates tensions

Tensions over Ukraine have escalated after Russian President Vladimir Putin put his nuclear forces on high alert.

The United States and some European countries have said they are dramatically increasing arms supplies to Ukraine, including more missiles and Stinger fighters.

Meanwhile, the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced plans to meet with the Russian delegation on Monday at an unspecified location on the border with Belarus.

Russia’s military attack on Ukraine began on the fifth day with fighting in the streets of the country’s second largest city Kharkiv and the military moving closer to the capital Kiev.

Here’s what you need to know about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the security crisis in Europe:

RUSSIA LEADS NUCLEAR FORCES READY

After digging up long-buried fears of the Cold War, Putin ordered Russian on Sunday nuclear weapons are prepared to increase readiness for launch.

He said NATO had made “aggressive statements” against Russia and referred to the tough economic sanctions imposed on Russia.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told CNN that Putin’s reference to Russia’s nuclear arsenal was “dangerous rhetoric.”

The practical meaning of Putin’s order was not immediately clear. Usually in Russia and the United States, ground and submarine-based nuclear forces are on alert and ready for combat at all times, but bombers and other nuclear-capable aircraft are not.

I WAS AFRAID OF EXPANSION IN UKRAINE

Russian troops approached the nearly 3 million Kyiv, and street fights broke out in Kharkiv. Strategic ports in the south were under pressure from attackers.

Ukrainian defenders put up fierce resistance, which seemed to slow the invasion. But a U.S. official warned that much stronger Russian forces would inevitably study and adapt their tactics during Russia’s offensive.

Only from time to time a car appeared on the deserted main boulevard of Kiev, as a strict 39-hour curfew did not allow people to go outside until Monday morning. Authorities have warned that anyone who leaves without a pass will be considered a Russian saboteur.

Frightened residents instead staggered to homes, underground garages and subway stations in anticipation of a full-scale Russian attack.

“I wish I had never lived to see that,” said 87-year-old Faina Bystritskaya, a World War II survivor. She said sirens sound almost constantly in her hometown of Chernihiv, which is about 150 kilometers (90 miles) from Kiev and is under attack.

Ukrainians liberated themselves en masse to defend their country by seizing weapons distributed by the authorities and preparing incendiary bombs. Ukraine is also releasing prisoners with military experience who want to fight for the country, authorities said.

Pentagon officials said Russian troops were slowing down due to Ukrainian resistance, fuel shortages and other logistical problems, and that Ukraine’s air defense systems, although weakened, were still working.

RUSSIA AND UKRAINE will hold talks

Rejecting Putin’s offer to meet in the Belarusian city of Gomel on the grounds that Belarus was helping the Russian assault, Zelensky agreed to send a Ukrainian delegation to meet with Russian counterparts at an unspecified time and place on the Belarusian border.

The announcement came hours after Russia announced that its delegation had flown to Belarus to await talks. Ukrainian officials initially rejected the move, saying any talks should take place elsewhere. Belarus has allowed Russia to use its territory as a platform for invading Ukraine.

Zelensky called Warsaw, Bratislava, Istanbul, Budapest and Baku alternative platforms for talks before the border with Belarus.

The Kremlin later added that Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had offered to help end the fighting in talks with Putin. Whether the Russian leader agreed is not reported.

MANY UKRAINIANS ARE WEARING, SOME RETURN TO BATTLE

The number of Ukrainians fleeing Europe’s largest armed conflict since World War II has risen to 368,000, mostly women and children, the UN refugee agency said on Sunday. This figure is more than twice the agency’s estimate compared to the previous day.

The queue of vehicles on the Polish-Ukrainian border stretched for 14 kilometers (almost 9 miles), and those fleeing had to wait a long time in the cold. According to Polish officials, more than 100,000 people have moved to Poland alone. An additional 66,000 refugees entered Hungary, with more than 23,000 on Saturday alone, according to Hungarian officials.

Rushing to escape the bombs and tanks, a trickle of brave men and women headed home to defend Ukraine. Associated Press journalists spoke at the border crossing in southern Poland people queuing up against the tide. Among them are 20 Ukrainian truck drivers who worked in Europe and wanted to face hostilities.

THE WORLD IS MOVING TO REDUCE RUSSIA

After the imposition of economic sanctions The European Union has agreed to close its airspace to Russian airlines and spend hundreds of millions of euros on weapons to send to Ukraine as well as targeting pro-Kremlin media that spread disinformation about the invasion.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the commission wanted to “for the first time in history” finance the purchase and delivery of weapons to the country under attack.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Joseph Borel said the bloc’s 27 foreign ministers on Sunday highlighted Ukraine’s unprecedented support and that the action would take effect within hours.

Japan has joined the United States and European countries in disconnecting leading Russian banks from SWIFT’s international financial messaging system. Japan will also send $ 100 million in emergency humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

And oil giant BP said it was Sunday severing ties with Rosneft, state Russian oil and gas company. This means that BP is leaving its stake in Rosneft, and BP officials are leaving positions on the board of the Russian company.

Signs of DEEPER FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES IN RUSSIA

There were some early signs that the initial economic damage to the Russian economy was significant.

Ruble depreciated against the US dollar early Monday after Western countries moved to block Russian banks in the global SWIFT payment system.

The video from Russia shows long queues of Russians trying to withdraw cash at ATMs, while the Central Bank of Russia issued a statement calling for calm to avoid bank raids. The reports also say that Visa and Mastercard are no longer accepted for those who have accounts in international banks.

Analysts believe Russia may have to temporarily close some bank branches or declare a national holiday to protect its financial system.

“When there is a full-scale banking panic, it is in itself the cause of the crisis,” said Adam Tuz, a professor of history at Columbia University and director of the European Institute. “The momentum of the Russian population in dollars is moving things into a whole new sphere of financial war.”

MORE STINGERS WENT TO UKRAINE

The United States has for the first time approved the direct supply of surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine. They can be used to shoot down helicopters and other aircraft. The decision was confirmed by US officials on condition of anonymity.

The decision was made after Germany announced that it would send 500 Stinger missiles and other weapons and supplies to Ukraine.

Also since January, the Baltic countries have been supplying Stingers to Ukraine, and this required the permission of the United States.

Germany also announced on Saturday that it would send 1,000 anti-tank weapons in addition to 400 German-made anti-tank weapons, which it also allowed to send from the Netherlands.

Stingers from the United States are part of additional military assistance to Ukraine in the amount of $ 350 million, which will also include anti-tank weapons, body armor and small arms.

European countries will also supply fighter jets to Ukraine, Barrel said.

Two non-NATO members also sent military supplies. Sweden said on Sunday it would send 5,000 anti-tank weapons, 5,000 helmets, 5,000 body armor and 135,000 rations, and Finland said it would send 2,000 helmets, 2,000 body armor and 100 medical stretcher equipment.

RUSSIANS AGAINST WAR

Contrary to police dispersal, protesters marched in downtown from Moscow to Siberia chanting “No to war!”

In St. Petersburg, where several hundred gathered in the city center, police in full gear grabbed protesters one by one and dragged some into police vans, although the demonstration was peaceful. On frames from Moscow visible as the police dropped to a few demonstrators before distraction them.

According to the human rights group OVD-Info, which monitors political arrests, police detained at least 1,474 Russians in 45 cities during anti-war demonstrations that day, bringing the total number of detainees to more than 5,000 in the past few days.

“I have two sons, and I do not want to give them to this bloody monster,” said 48-year-old Dmitry Maltsev, who joined the rally in St. Petersburg, to the Associated Press. “War is a tragedy for all of us.”

Protests also took place in Belarus, where more than 500 people were detained on Sunday, according to the country’s most famous human rights organization. The Human Rights Center “Viasna” reported that demonstrations took place in at least 12 cities, including the capital. Demonstrators laid flowers on a growing pile near the Ukrainian embassy.

RUSSIA RECOGNIZES AHTER

The Russian military admitted that it had suffered casualties in Ukraine, without giving their figures. “Among our comrades there are dead and wounded,” said a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Major General Igor Kanashenko.

Each side in the war expressed claims of casualties and military losses inflicted on the other side, but these figures were not verified. Kanashenko’s statement was the first by the Russian military to acknowledge the loss of its own troops.

Ukraine recognized military losses early. It didn’t give a number. Ukraine reports the deaths of civilians and said on Sunday that 352 people had died, including 14 children.

UNITED NATIONS FOR MEETINGS

The two main bodies of the UN – the General Assembly of 193 countries and the more powerful Security Council of 15 members – are holding separate meetings on Monday on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On Sunday, the Security Council gave the green light to the first extraordinary session of the General Assembly in decades. This will give all UN members the opportunity to talk about the war on Monday and vote later this week for a resolution that, according to US Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield, “will hold Russia accountable for its vulnerable actions and violations of the UN Charter. ”

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