Region

Russia

Stories under this heading cover Russia, as well as countries in the eastern part of the European continent, such as Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova.

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News
Lavrov on diplomatic offensive in the Gulf, as poll results suggest Arab street is indifferent to Ukraine situation

Lavrov on diplomatic offensive in the Gulf, as poll results suggest Arab street is indifferent to Ukraine situation

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Bahrain and Saudi Arabia this week as part of efforts to consolidate relations with the region, despite the international outcry over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The visit comes amid finding in a poll by YOUGOV that show that the Arab street is largely indifferent to the events in Ukraine. Faisal Abbas, the Editor in Chief of Arab News which commissioned the poll, in an article on 30 May, said that "most strikingly, perhaps, the findings lay bare the extent of the distrust of the West across all 14 of the countries covered in the survey. Almost a quarter of the 7,835 people surveyed (24 percent) pointed the finger of blame for the conflict squarely at NATO, while more than one in ten (13 percent) said US President Joe Biden was responsible. Only 16 percent blamed Russia." Abbas says that "this can be attributed in part to Russia’s massive investment in its own news channels in Arabic, and to a massive online outreach effort. But underpinning the widespread Arab skepticism on this issue is not so much the success of Russian propaganda, but rather the steady ebbing away of trust in the West over the past two decades."

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News
Russia sends troops into Ukraine amid widespread international condemnation

Russia sends troops into Ukraine amid widespread international condemnation

Russia has  started deploying troops to the Ukrainian regions of Lugansk and Donetsk shortly after president Putin signed decrees recognising the two breakaway regions as independent states. There is still uncertainty as to what the Russian endgame is. Parts of Lugansk and Donetsk have been under separatist control since 2014. But if the Russian forces try to move beyond these enclaves to territory controlled by the Ukrainian army some very heavy fighting is to be expected. There has been widespread international condemnation of Russia's action. The UN Security Council met in emergency session early on Tuesday morning. France, US and UK strongly condemned the Russian action. Several countries are expected to impose sanctions.
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News
Updated: Russia recognises Ukrainian breakaway regions as independent countries

Updated: Russia recognises Ukrainian breakaway regions as independent countries

Russia has recognised the breakaway Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent countries and signed friendship and co-operation agreements with them. Just before, Russian president Vladimir Putin in a long and agitated television address to the nation appeared to question the very existence of the Ukrainian state, lambasted the west for its policy towards Russia, accused the Ukrainian government of genocide in the Donbass region and announced the recognition of the two separatist entities.
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Commentary
The sight of refugees on their own continent unsettles Europeans

The sight of refugees on their own continent unsettles Europeans

The  sight of refugees on their own continent amid the rumblings of war unsettles Europeans, many of who thought these were things of the past. Within the EU, a younger generation brought up in an era of peace and relative prosperity is struggling to understand the news coming out of Ukraine, and the human tragedy that is about to unfold unless there is some last minute diplomatic breakthrough. Indeed, for Europeans, Ukraine is the wake-up call they had hoped they would never get again.
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News
Putin orders the start of strategic nuclear exercises

Putin orders the start of strategic nuclear exercises

Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Saturday ordered the start of strategic nuclear exercises involving launches of ballistic missiles. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Putin, took part in military exercises alongside Putin from a situation centre in the Kremlin. There is intense speculation that Russia will launch an attack against Ukraine in the next days. Speaking to the media in Lithuania on Saturday, U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said Russian forces were beginning to "uncoil and move closer" to the border with Ukraine.
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News
Putin has taken the final decision to invade Ukraine- the target is Kyiv

Putin has taken the final decision to invade Ukraine- the target is Kyiv

US president Joe Biden said on Friday evening (18 February) that Russian president Vladimir Putin has taken the final decision to invade Ukraine and that the objective is to occupy the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. Speaking in a televised message from the White House, Biden said that his assessment was based on US intelligence information
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News
The imminent threat of war in Europe

The imminent threat of war in Europe

The United States has called on all its citizens in Ukraine to leave the country before Monday, as war in Europe now appears imminent. Unofficial American sources say it is possible the Russian invasion of Ukraine will start on Wednesday, 16 February. The UK, the Netherlands and Latvia are among the countries that have also told their citizens in Ukraine to leave immediately. The EU has told its non-essential staff in Kyiv to leave also.