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Russia-Ukraine tensions highlights: India arranging more flights; Ukraine declares emergency; US intel says attack 'imminent'

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Russia-Ukraine tensions highlights: India arranging more flights; Ukraine declares emergency; US intel says attack 'imminent'

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Russia-Ukraine tensions highlights: The United States and its allies steped up sanctions pressure on Russia on Wednesday over the deployment of troops in separatist regions of eastern Ukraine, in one of the worst security crises in Europe in decades. US claims 100 percent of Russian troops are in invasion-ready formations and said an attack was imminent. Ukraine is set to declare a state of emergency and has asked its 30 lakh citizens living in Russia to flee. Ukrainian MPs also passed a vote allowing civilians to carry firearms.

Russia-Ukraine tensions highlights: India arranging more flights; Ukraine declares emergency; US intel says attack 'imminent'
  • With that, we wrap up today's coverage of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis. Thank you for following CNBC-TV18's coverage and do join us tomorrow as we continue to follow the events as they unfold in Eastern Europe. Good night, readers!

  • Here's a recap of the developments in and around Ukraine so far (with BBC inputs)

    The Ukrainian government has asked all its citizens living in Russia - roughly 30 lakh of them -- to leave immediately. Ukraine is also calling up all its military reservists, aged 18 to 60, and is also set to declare a month-long state of emergency. Earlier, Ukraine's parliament passed a vote allowing civilians to carry firearms.

    Ukraine said it has also been targeted by a large-scale cyber attack on its government website and banks. US intelligence shared with Ukraine suggested that a Russian attack was imminent, though Ukraine is taking it with a pinch of salt--previous intelligence reports suggesting similar attacks on February 16 and later 18 did not pan out.

    Meanwhile Russia is reportedly edging its troops closer to the border--US estimates claim 80-100 percent of Russian troops are in invasion-ready formations. Earlier, Russia evacuated its embassy in Kyiv and lowered its flag there

    President Vladimir Putin released a video speech earlier, saying he was still open to dialogue but refused to budge on Russia's interests, saying they were "non-negotiable"

    The UN General Assembly is in session. The Secretary-General said the world is "facing a moment of peril", describing the situation in Ukraine as "the most serious global peace and security crisis in recent years". US amabassador to the Un Linda Thomas-Greenfield said a Russian invasion of Ukraine could displace as many as 30 million people. The Russian ambassador to the UN, meanwhile, called on the General Assembly to end Ukraine's "military adventures".

    Western countries have continued to announce sanctions against Russia. After being locked in talks, the EU has approved a package of sanctions that target individuals with a travel ban and asset freeze, as well as restrictions on the Russian state's ability to access the EU's financial markets. Notably, the Swiss refrained from announcing sanctions, while Israel called for peace in Ukraine without mentioning Russia. Turkey has offered support to Putin in finding a non-military solution. 

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended his sanctions, criticised widely as being too weak, and said the UK would send more military support to Ukraine.

    The media watchdog Ofcom is going to review the licence for broadcaster RT -- formerly known as Russia Today -- after claims it's used by Putin to spread fake news. RT have called it a "slippery slope" for freedom of speech.

    Oil prices fell after a temporary lull in tensions, but rose again as the aggressive rhetoric sharpened.

  • Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, a symbol of unity and peace in Europe, is lit up in Ukrainian colours on Wednesday. (Image: Reuters)

    Russia-Ukraine tensions highlights: India arranging more flights; Ukraine declares emergency; US intel says attack 'imminent'
  • EU ready to impose export controls if Russia enters more Ukrainian territory

    The European Union will be ready to launch a second package of sanctions against Russia, including export controls, if Russian troops move beyond the Ukrainian regions held by Russian-backed separatists, European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis told Reuters on Wednesday. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday recognised the independence of two breakaway regions in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine that adjoin Russia.

    Moscow sent troops there on Tuesday, prompting the EU, the United States and Britain to slap sanctions on Russian politicians and banks and curbing the government's ability to raise capital via the EU's financial markets. But the EU is concerned Russia may continue its invasion beyond the areas controlled by the separatists and EU leaders will hold an emergency summit on Thursday to discuss what to do next.

    "Russia decided to go for a major escalation of this conflict by the recognition of the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics and clarifying that they mean this in the territory of not what is actually controlled by the so-called republics, but the entire Donbass territory, so we are facing a major escalation," Dombrovskis said in an interview. "If there is further Russian aggression and further incursion into Ukraine territory we are willing to step up our response also in terms of sanctions."

    Asked what such a stepping up would mean, Dombrovskis said: "It would concern economic sanctions in the area of trade, for example export controls. The EU has been working on a sanctions package for several weeks, so there are ways how we are able to act quickly and further step up sanctions and do this in cooperation with the United States, Britain and other countries."

  • 100% of Russian troops in invasion-ready position, says US

    The Guardian has more on previous reporting about US intelligence warning Ukraine of an imminent attack: A senior US defense official has said that Russia has moved nearly 100 percent of its troops into position needed for an invasion. The defense official was not able to confirm if additional troops had moved into the Donbas area.

  • Swiss refrain from immediate sanctions against Russia

    Switzerland has refrained from immediate sanctions on Russia following its breach of Ukraine's sovereignty, the government said on Wednesday. However, it wanted to make sure Switzerland is not used to get around punitive measures imposed by the European Union. "The Federal Council (cabinet) wishes to ensure that Switzerland will not be used as a platform to circumnavigate sanctions imposed by the EU," it said in a statement. "It will therefore examine the sanctions and then come to a decision," it said, adding it was in constant contact with several countries to exchange intelligence on the situation.

    Switzerland may adopt compulsory measures to enforce sanctions adopted by the United Nations, the OSCE or Switzerland's main trading partners in order to ensure compliance with international law, in particular respect for human rights, it added. The government condemned Russia's recognition of two regions in eastern Ukraine as independent states, saying it violated international law and breached Ukrainian sovereignty.

    "Switzerland does not recognise the independence of these territories, which remain part of Ukrainian territory," the government said, referring to Donetsk and Luhansk. Neutral Switzerland in 2014 did not adopt European Union sanctions imposed on Russia for annexing Crimea, instead implementing its own measures designed to keep the country and its financial centre from being used to circumvent EU measures. Switzerland is obliged under international law to implement only sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council.

    Compulsory measures available to the government include embargoes on goods, embargoes on services, financial sanctions, bans on entry and transit, or a combination of these measures, it said.

  • UN chief: This is a moment I truly hoped wouldn't come

    More now from UN Secretary General António Guterres, who has been speaking at the organisation's headquarters in New York, reports BBC. The UN's General Assembly is meeting to discuss Ukraine.

    Guterres says the meeting is happening "in the face of the most serious global peace and security crisis in recent years, and certainly in my time as secretary general". He says this moment is one he "truly hoped would not come".

    "The latest developments regarding Ukraine are a cause of grave concern, and they include reports of increased ceasefire violations across the contact line, and a real risk of further escalation on the ground," he says. (Image: Reuters)

    Russia-Ukraine tensions highlights: India arranging more flights; Ukraine declares emergency; US intel says attack 'imminent'
  • Document checks & curfew: Here's a look at Ukraine's emergency plan

    Ukraine's parliament is expected to approve a bill declaring a state of emergency for 30 days soon. The draft document, which has been seen by Reuters news agency, introduces personal document checks and gives the government the power to impose a curfew if needed. According to the draft, Ukraine would impose restrictions on a range of digital and radio communication services, which the government says could inflame the situation, while military reservists would not be allowed to leave the country.

     

  • More on the US warning of an imminent Russian attack

  • Two convoys of military equipment heading towards Donetsk: Reuters

    Two separate convoys of military equipment with no identifiable insignia were moving towards the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine along different roads from the direction of the Russian border, a Reuters witness reported on Wednesday. One convoy included nine tanks and an infantry fighting vehicle, while the other was made up of trucks and fuel tankers, said the reporter, who was in the territory of two Russia-backed rebel regions recognised as independent by Moscow on Monday. Ukraine declared a state of emergency on Wednesday and told its citizens in Russia to flee, while Moscow began evacuating its Kyiv embassy in the latest ominous signs for Ukrainians who fear an all-out Russian military onslaught.

  • Turkish president urges Putin to seek non-military solution

    Turkey is ready to help to solve the Ukraine crisis, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told President Vladimir V. Putin in a phone call on Wednesday, according to Mr.Erdogan’s office, the New York Times reported. Military conflict won’t help anyone, he said, and Turkey is not recognizing any steps against Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

  • US warns a Russian invasion could displace 5 million

    The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told the UN General Assembly that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could displace as many as five million people. "If Russia continues down this path, it could -- according to our estimates -- create a new refugee crisis, one of the largest facing the world today," Thomas-Greenfield said. (Image: Reuters)

    Russia-Ukraine tensions highlights: India arranging more flights; Ukraine declares emergency; US intel says attack 'imminent'
  • Israel tiptoes around Russia, urges 'diplomatic solution' in Ukraine

    Israel called on Wednesday for a peaceful resolution of the Ukraine crisis and said it was concerned about the country's large Jewish community but avoided any mention of Russia, a major player in the conflict in Syria. "Israel shares international concern over the steps in eastern Ukraine and the severe escalation in the situation (and) hopes that a diplomatic solution will be found," the foreign ministry said in a statement. It said it supported "the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine" but offered no comment on Russia's actions in ordering troops into two breakaway regions in the east of the country.

    The carefully worded statement reflected the balance Israel has long maintained over Russia, with which it maintains a coordination mechanism to avoid unintentional clashes in Syria, where Russian forces have been present since 2015. Israel has said it will offer shelter to members of Ukraine's Jewish community who flee the country as the threat of fighting has grown but it has avoided any direct criticism of Russia, which has amassed tens of thousands of troops on the border.

  • Russian envoy urges UN to stop Ukraine's 'military adventure'

    Russian ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya, addressing the UN General Assembly, accused Ukraine of being anti-Russian and was seemingly unhappy about UN involvement in the Ukraine crisis, the Guardian reported.

    During his remarks, Nebenzya accused Ukraine of genocide and human rights violations against those living in Donbass, a claim tat several sources have flagged as false. Nebenzya also questioned the title of the UN assembly meeting, arguing that the title should reflect Ukraine losing territory due to its treatment of its own citizens.

    Nebenzya, as he wrapped up his speech, said:

  • US jets arrive in Germany to bolster defences: NATO

  • Satellite image shows Russian troop buildup just 40km from Ukraine border

    New satellite images show that in recent days, additional troops, vehicles and logistics infrastructure have also been deployed to Belarus, CNN reported. At an airfield just southwest of Mazyr, in southern Belarus, dozens of tents and vehicles have appeared in recent days. A satellite image from Feb. 4 shows the area was completely vacant. That airfield is just under 40 kilometres from Ukraine's northern border. (Image: Maxar Technologies)

    Russia-Ukraine tensions highlights: India arranging more flights; Ukraine declares emergency; US intel says attack 'imminent'
  • Russian attack imminent, US warns Ukraine 

    The United States has issued a new warning to the Ukrainian government that the latest intelligence points to a full-scale Russian invasion imminently, according to Ukrainian, US and Western officials familiar with the matter, CNN reported. The new warning was conveyed on Tuesday morning local Kyiv time, according to three of the sources. A senior Ukrainian official said Ukraine has not verified the intelligence and noted that the United States has issued similar warnings before for assaults that ultimately did not materialize.

  • NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on the Ukraine crisis

  • The United Nations General Assembly meeting underway

    UN chief António Guterres said: “If the conflict in Ukraine expands, the world could see a scale and severity of need unseen for many years.”

    Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba also spoke, urging other delegates that the crisis affects everyone. “What is happening right now in eastern Ukraine ... must be a concern for everyone. For all of you,” said Kuleba. “No one will be able to sit out this crisis.”

    Russia-Ukraine tensions highlights: India arranging more flights; Ukraine declares emergency; US intel says attack 'imminent'
  • Oil rises as Ukraine issues state of emergency, suffers cyber attacks

    Oil prices reversed earlier losses on Wednesday, rising on reports that Ukraine's government, foreign ministry and state security service were affected by a cyberattack. Brent crude was up $1.48, or 1.5 percent, to $98.32 a barrel at 3.38pm GMT, after hitting $99.50 on Tuesday, the highest since September 2014.

    US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $1.58, or 1.7 percent, to $93.47 a barrel, after reaching $96 on Tuesday.

    US stocks slipped on Wednesday after giving up all of the opening gains as reports of cyberattacks on several Ukrainian state websites added to fears about escalating tensions with Russia. Ukraine declared a state of emergency on Wednesday and told its citizens in Russia to flee, while Moscow began evacuating its Kyiv embassy in the latest ominous signs for Ukrainians who fear an all-out Russian military onslaught.

    Sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, Britain, Australia, Canada and Japan were focused on Russian banks and elites, while Germany halted certification of a gas pipeline from Russia. But the United States made it clear that sanctions agreed and those which may be imposed will not target oil and gas flows.

  • EU sanctions take effect, hit Russian officials, companies & lawmakers

    European Union sanctions against Russia took effect Wednesday, targeting senior government officials, several companies and hundreds of lawmakers who voted in favor of recognizing the independence of separatist parts of southeast Ukraine. The sanctions, mostly a freeze on the assets of those listed and a ban on them traveling in the 27-nation EU, are the first steps in a planned series of retaliatory measures designed to be ramped up should Russian President Vladimir Putin launch an attack or push troops deeper into Ukraine.

    Putin signed a decree recognizing Donetsk and Luhansk as independent and appears to be driving Russia's campaign against Ukraine, but he is not on the EUs list even though the sanctions target those who were involved in the illegal decision. The EU will extend restrictive measures to cover all the 351 members of the Russian State Duma, who voted on 15 February in favor of the appeal to President Putin to recognize the independence of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics, EU headquarters said. A further 27 high profile individuals and entities, who have played a role in undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, including government officials, banks, businesspeople and top military officers, are also in the EU's sights.

    The measures hit banks that finance Russia's armed forces. They target the ability of Moscow to access EU capital and financial markets and services, and ban EU trade with the two regions so that those responsible clearly feel the economic consequences of their illegal and aggressive actions.

  • Russia-Ukraine crisis: Efforts on to arrange more flights for Indians wishing to return, says MoS External Affairs
    Russia-Ukraine crisis: Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said efforts are being made to arrange more flights in view of the situation that many Indians there do not have the…
    Russia-Ukraine tensions highlights: India arranging more flights; Ukraine declares emergency; US intel says attack 'imminent'
  • Ukraine says another sweeping cyberattack underway as state websites and banks hit

    The websites of Ukraine's government, foreign ministry and state security service were down on Wednesday in what the government said was the start of another massive denial of service (DDoS) attack that began at around 2 pm GMT.

    Ukrainian authorities said this week they had seen online warnings that hackers were preparing to launch major attacks on government agencies, banks and the defence sector. Ukraine has suffered a string of cyberattacks that Kyiv has blamed on Russia. Moscow, which is caught up in a mounting confrontation with the West over Ukraine, has denied any involvement.

    "At about 4 pm, another mass DDoS attack on our state began. We have relevant data from a number of banks," said Mykhailo Fedorov, Minister of Digital Transformation, adding that the parliament website was also hit. He did not mention which banks were affected and the central bank could not immediately be reached for comment.

    The online networks of Ukraine's defence ministry and two banks were overwhelmed last week in a separate cyberattack. The U.S. company Netscout Systems Inc later said the impact had been modest.

  • Ukraine declares state of emergency, summons citizens home from Russia

    Ukraine declared a state of emergency on Wednesday and told its citizens in Russia to flee, while Moscow began evacuating its Kyiv embassy in the latest ominous signs for Ukrainians who fear an all-out Russian military onslaught. Shelling intensified at the line of contact in eastern Ukraine, where Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised the independence of two Moscow-backed rebel regions this week and has ordered the deployment of Russian troops as "peacekeepers".

    But there was still no clear indication of whether he plans to follow that up with a massed assault on his neighbour by tens of thousands of troops gathered near Ukraine's borders. The uncertainty has roiled financial markets but oil prices eased on Wednesday, global stocks broke a four-day slide and demand for safe-haven assets waned as Western leaders and Ukraine awaited Putin's next move.

  • EU leaders to discuss Ukraine crisis at special summit on Thursday

    EU leaders will meet for a special summit in Brussels on Thursday to discuss the bloc's further response to Moscow after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine. "It is important that we continue to be united and determined and jointly define our collective approach and actions," the head of the EU Council grouping the bloc's member states, Charles Michel, said in a statement on Wednesday.

  • Czechs to propose EU tightens passport rules for Russians

    The Czech Republic will ask European Union partners to only allow entry into the border control-free Schengen area to Russians who hold biometric passports, Czech Interior Minister Vita Rakusan said on Wednesday. "We will call on our European colleagues... to require Russian citizens (to hold) biometric passports for entering the Schengen area so we have clear certainty that the person entering with the passport really is that person," Rakusan said. Most of the bloc is part of the Schengen zone.

  • Russia ally Cuba slams U.S. over Ukraine crisis, urges diplomacy

    Cuba, a close ally of Russia, has sharply criticized the United States for imposing "the progressive expansion of NATO towards the borders of the Russian Federation" and called for a diplomatic solution to preserve international peace.

    In a statement late on Tuesday, Cuba's foreign ministry said the United States, Havana's long-time rival, had ramped up threats against Putin, aggravating the crisis. The Cuban statement did not specifically mention Russian advances into the separatist regions of eastern Ukraine.

    "The US government has been threatening Russia for weeks and manipulating the international community about the dangers of an 'imminent massive invasion' of Ukraine," the Cuban statement said. "It has supplied weapons and military technology, deployed troops to several countries in the region, applied unilateral and unjust sanctions, and threatened other reprisals."

  • Supply chain bottlenecks to worsen as Russia-Ukraine conflict spirals
    Besides sending energy prices sky-high, the Russia-Ukraine crisis will have a disastrous impact on the supply chain of foodgrains and metals across the world, with Europe the worst sufferer. And…
    Russia-Ukraine tensions highlights: India arranging more flights; Ukraine declares emergency; US intel says attack 'imminent'
Russia-Ukraine tensions highlights: 
The United States and its allies sought on Wednesday to step up sanctions pressure on Russia on Wednesday over the deployment of troops in separatist regions of eastern Ukraine, in one of the worst security crises in Europe in decades. The Ukrainian military said one soldier had been killed and six wounded in increased shelling by pro-Russian separatists using heavy artillery, mortar bombs and Grad rocket systems in the two breakaway regions over the previous 24 hours.
Ukraine's security council has asked the country's parliament to declare a state of emergency throughout, except for Donetsk and Luhansk, which are under the control of Russia-backed separatists and have been declared independent regions by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ukraine's citizens have also been allowed to carry firearms for self-defence.
Meanwhile, Russia has started evacuating its diplomatic staff from Ukraine.
Putin has massed more than 150,000 troops near Ukraine's borders, according to U.S. estimates, and signed a decree on the deployment of troops in the breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk enclaves to "keep the peace" - a justification the United States says is "nonsense". Putin on Monday recognised the separatist enclaves in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine which adjoin Russia, deepening Western fears of a major war in Europe by raising the prospect of a full-scale invasion beyond the breakaway areas.
The United States, the European Union, Britain, Australia, Canada and Japan responded with plans to target banks and elites while Germany froze a major gas pipeline project from Russia. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, announcing more measures on Wednesday, said Britain would stop Russia selling sovereign debt in London.

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