Kyiv, Feb. 25: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said 137 people, including 10 military officers, have been killed and 316 people injured so far in the Russian invasion. The dead included all border guards on the Zmiinyi Island in the Odesa region, which was taken over by Russians. Zelenskyy said Kyiv was ‘left alone’ to fight Moscow.
Ukraine said it last control of the Chernobyl nuclear site, the site of the 1986 disaster. A senior official said that the staff at the Chernobyl plant had been “taken hostage” when Russian troops seized the facility, a move the US termed “incredibly alarming”. A senior US defense official said Russia may be intent on seizing Kyiv, the capital, and other key cities and ultimately installing a more friendly government.
World leaders have decried the invasion; the US and its allies said they will block the assets of four large Russian banks, impose export controls and sanction oligarchs. The countries on NATO’s eastern flank, especially the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, all have received the first batches of US military troops and equipment. China, meanwhile, continues its support of the Kremlin with its customs agency approving imports of wheat from all regions of Russia.
Russian aggression on its border with Ukraine has triggered one of the greatest security crises in Europe since the Cold War. In 2014, Russia had seized Crimea, an important port region in Ukraine. Conflicts between the two militaries continue to this day but the current Russian invasion has escalated tensions to unprecedented levels.
Moscow had present NATO with a list of security demands including banning Ukraine and other former Soviet states from joining the organisation. Additionally, Russia asked NATO to abandon military activity in Eastern Europe, which would mean pulling out combat units from Poland and the Baltic states. To put it simply, Russia wants NATO to return to its pre-1997 borders.-Agencies