Russia-Ukraine Conflict: Ceasefire Talks Today, Ukraine's EU Aspirations Remain
After a phone call with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed that ceasefire talks would be held today on Monday between Russian and Ukrainian delegations: “We agreed that the Ukrainian delegation would meet with the Russian delegation without preconditions on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, near the Pripyat River”, he said through the messaging app Telegram. This comes nearly a day after Ukraine rejected it as a venue for talks. The conflict has been ongoing since February 23rd when Russia launched what it says are “military operations” and “precision strikes” against the Ukrainian military. International Response: India Abstains At Another UNSC Vote, Sanctions Continue U.S.-aligned countries are imposing restrictions and sanctions on Russia, while others like China, Belarus, Venezuela, and Brazil have not issued condemnations of Russia, with China slamming Western and American sanctions while questioning the U.S.’s own foreign policies and outcomes. India abstained today at a UN Security Council procedural vote to convene a meeting of the General Assembly, two days after abstaining on a UNSC resolution condemning Russian aggression in Ukraine which was vetoed by Russia, making it the third time for New Delhi to abstain on the Ukraine-Russia situation. The U.S., through State Department spokesperson Ned Price, has said that it recognizes that India’s relationship with Russia is “distinct” but expects New Delhi to use its influence with the Russian Federation to protect the “rules-based order”. India has until now attempted to ‘maintain a balance' between Washington and Moscow and has not stated its support for any side beyond welcoming dialogue and de-escalation initiatives. The United Kingdom announced today that a fresh round of sanctions would target the Russian Central Bank. Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak stated in a press release that “The UK Government will immediately take all necessary steps to bring into effect restrictions to prohibit any UK natural or legal persons from undertaking financial transactions involving the CBR, the Russian National Wealth Fund, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation”. The British sanctions are aimed at “imposing the highest costs on Russia and to cut her off from the international financial system so long as this conflict persists.”, Switzerland, which is historically a neutral country, has indicated that freezing Russian assets is a strong possibility. Swiss president Ignazio Cassis said to TV station RTS that “it is very probable” that the government would freeze Russian assets but also added: “But I cannot anticipate decisions not yet taken” Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishna announced “appropriate sanctions and restrictions” on Russia, in line with “like-minded countries”. Brazil’s President Jaire Bolsanaro announced yesterday on Sunday that his country will stay neutral in the conflict, calling both Ukraine and Russia “practically brother nations”. But he also rejected claims that Russia is planning ‘massive bloodshed’. Denmark announced that its citizens are free to join in the military effort and assist Ukraine. “There is nothing at first sight that would legally prevent someone from going to Ukraine to participate in the conflict, on the Ukrainian side”, said Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. Russia Arrests Anti-War Protestors, Racism Alleged Against Indians, Africans In Ukraine Rights organizations have claimed that Russia has arrested over 2,000 people for anti-war demonstrations. According to the organization OVD-Info, which has previously covered action against political opposition in Russia, 2,114 protestors were arrested yesterday on Sunday. Protests in solidarity with Ukraine have gathered crowds of over 100,000 people across Europe in recent days. Videos and anecdotes also emerged showing alleged racist behaviour, physical assaults by Ukrainian police, forces, and civilians on Indians and Africans. Foreign students have alleged that they were made to wait for long hours at border crossings and were dragged out of vehicles and prevented from boarding trains while attempting to exit the country.
This thread claims to show Africans facing discrimination, being prevented from boarding trains:
A Nigerian medical student at Poland/Ukraine border (Medyka-Shehyni) told me she has been waiting 7hrs to cross, she says border guards are stopping black people and sending them to the back of the queue, saying they have to let 'Ukrainians' through first.— Stephanie Hegarty (@stephhegarty) February 26, 2022