Day 368 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Most G20 Countries condemned Russia’s Aggression in Ukraine
Day 368 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- Putin again scares the Russians with the West
- No joint G20 statement due to China’s objections to the war in Ukraine
- Ukraine said the Russian offensive near Yahidne had failed
- ISW: Lukashenko is trying to help Russia and China circumvent sanctions
- Belarus claims to have 1.5 million potential soldiers beyond the armed forces
- The 10th EU package targeted the commanders of the private army "Wagner"
- Ukraine issues a postage stamp depicting a defeated Putin
Putin again scares the Russians with the West
"NATO's supply of weapons to Ukraine can be considered participation in the conflict, as the alliance receives no money for it."
This was announced by Vladimir Putin in an interview for the program "Moscow. Kremlin. Putin" on the Russian state television "Rossiya-1", reports BTA.
"The West is becoming complicit in Kyiv's crimes," he said, quoted by TASS, in his latest public appearance, in which he again developed this mainstay of Russian rhetoric.
"They supply Ukraine with weapons worth tens of billions of dollars. And that is exactly the point of participation. Why? Because this is not just military-technical cooperation, they don't get paid for it. They don't get paid," Putin continued.
Thus, "on the one hand, these weapons are handed over, which speaks in a certain sense, albeit indirectly, of complicity in these crimes committed by the regime in Kyiv, including the shelling of residential areas in Novorossiya and Donetsk," said the Russian president.
Putin announced the West is planning to break Russia up for a long time and establish control over its remains. In this case Russian nation might not survive - there will be moscovites, urales etc, he said.— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) February 26, 2023
Did these thoughts lead him to terrorism and genocide on Ukrainians? pic.twitter.com/csSlYNyA5v
"In today's conditions, when all the leading NATO member countries have announced as their main goal to inflict a strategic defeat on us, to make our people suffer, as they say - how can we not take into account their nuclear potentials in these conditions," continued Putin.
In response to a question about whether Russia considers it necessary to further consider the nuclear arsenals of Great Britain and France in the treaty, he replied: "Well, of course."
"After all, we left them out of the negotiations at the time, with a view to removing them from responsibility, and because NATO declared itself to be an almost demilitarized organization," he said.
Putin again repeated another often-repeated thesis of the Kremlin - how the West wants to break apart Russia.
"If the West is given the opportunity to break up the Russian Federation and establish control over its remnants, the Russian people may not survive," he threatened.
"If we go down this path, I think that the destinies of many peoples in Russia, and above all, of course, the Russian people, can change drastically, just drastically," Putin continued.
No joint G20 statement due to China’s objections to the war in Ukraine
Finance ministers from the world's biggest economies failed to agree on a final statement after a summit in India after China refused to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Beijing does not accept parts of a G20 statement that "most categorically" condemns Russia's aggression.
Moscow said "anti-Russian" Western countries had "destabilized" the G20. This comes after China this week published a plan to end the conflict that was seen by some as pro-Russian. India, which this week hosted the G20 talks in the southern city of Bengaluru, issued a wide-ranging summary of the meeting, noting that there were "different assessments" of the situation in Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia.
A footnote says that two paragraphs summarizing the war were "approved by all member countries except Russia and China."
The paragraphs are adapted from the G20 leaders' declaration from Bali in November and criticize "in the strongest terms the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine".
Ukraine said the Russian offensive near Yahidne had failed
The Ukrainian armed forces said today that the Russian offensive near the Ukrainian village of Yahidne was unsuccessful, Reuters reported.
Ukraine made the announcement after Russia's private military company Wagner said yesterday that its fighters had captured the village near the town of Bakhmut, an area where fierce fighting is taking place.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said this morning that Russia continues to concentrate its offensive along the entire front line near Bakhmut, where Yahidne is located.
Fighting for Bakhmut has been going on for several months in what is believed to be some of the bloodiest fighting since Russian forces invaded Ukraine last year.
ISW: Lukashenko is trying to help Russia and China circumvent sanctions
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's visit to China is likely aimed at helping Russia and China circumvent Western sanctions, according to the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
Another report by the institute, cited by the BBC, said that plans for Sino-Belarusian agreements on trade, investment and large-scale joint projects could be directly linked to possible arms supplies from Beijing to Russia.
"Lukashenko's announcement of his planned visit coincides with reports by CNN and The Washington Post that, according to US officials, China is seriously considering selling combat drones, weapons and 122- and 152-mm artillery shells to Russia," the authors of the report wrote.
They said Russian and Chinese officials likely developed a plan to deliver drones to Russia using false shipping documents to avoid international sanctions.
"China may try to use the agreements with Belarus to cover up violations of the sanctions regime," ISW believes.
The United States is convinced that China is considering sending weapons to Russia, but intelligence suggests Beijing has not yet made a final decision, CIA Director William Burns told CBS News.
"We see no evidence of actual deliveries of lethal equipment," Burns added.
CNN reported on Friday that the Chinese government is considering providing Russia with drones and munitions for the war in Ukraine, citing three sources familiar with the intelligence.
Belarus claims to have 1.5 million potential soldiers beyond the armed forces
Belarus has a military potential of 1.5 million people, not counting the servicemen of the armed forces, Alexander Volfovich, state secretary of the Belarusian National Security Council, was quoted by Reuters as saying yesterday.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko supports Russian President Vladimir Putin in the conflict in Ukraine by allowing Russian forces to use Belarusian territory in their invasion of Ukraine and allowing Russian conscripts to undergo military training in Belarus.
This month, Lukashenko ordered the formation of a new territorial defense force of up to 150,000 people. The Belarusian leader stated that his army would only fight if the Republic of Belarus was attacked.
"The number of formations, not counting the armed forces, will reach 1.5 million people in case of declaration of martial law and transition to a military economy," said Volfovich, quoted by the Belarusian news agency BelTA.
The 10th EU package targeted the commanders of the private army "Wagner"
19 Russian deputy ministers and a number of government representatives, including heads of federal agencies, came under the blows of the tenth package of sanctions because of the aggression against Ukraine.
The package was approved yesterday by the member states (Council) of the EU. This happened on the occasion of the first anniversary of the invasion.
A total of 87 individuals and 34 legal entities were added to the sanctions list.
Among them are new members of the Federation Council - the upper house of the parliament, including the representative of the illegally annexed so-called Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), and Daria Lantratova - deputy secretary of the General Council of the ruling United Russia party. Four deputies from the Duma were also punished.
The list includes the All-Russian People's Front (ONF) and 5 persons associated with it. This organization spearheads the "All for Victory" campaign, which collects donations to support the military units of the LPR and the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR).
11 individuals and 7 entities that have been sanctioned are related to the Private Military Company (PMC) "Wagner". Among them are two commanders of the group who took part in the capture of the Ukrainian city of Soledar in January, the commander of "Wagner" in Mali, where there are reports of many cases of violence and violation of human rights and executions without trial and sentence, as well as high-ranking members of PMCs in the Central African Republic (CAR), including the Presidential Adviser. Some of these people are already under the blows of the EU's Global Sanctions Regime for human rights violations. One of the listed companies operates in Sudan. Two others are involved in the trade in gold and diamonds in the CAR, forcibly taken from local traders.
Sanctions have also been imposed against persons involved in the deportation and forced adoption by Russian families of Ukrainian children from the occupied territories.
The so-called prosecutors in the illegally annexed Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, as well as the so-called Ministry of Emergency Situations of the DPR, are subject to restrictive measures.
The Council imposed sanctions on the pro-government media organization Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today!), to which Sputnik media is subordinate. Restrictive measures were imposed on writers, anchors and high-ranking executives of major TV channels and media groups, propagandists and others. They are polluting the public space with misinformation, waging an information war, the Council points out.
The EU also sanctioned four Iranian officials linked to the production and supply of drones that the Russian military uses for attacks in Ukraine.
Three Russian banks were also sanctioned - Alfa-Bank, Rosbank and Tinkoff Bank. They receive money from the economic sectors that bring serious profits to the government in Moscow. The same measures have been applied against the National Investment Fund of the Russian Federation and the Russian National Reinsurance Company (RNPC).
Thus, until now, 1,473 individuals and 205 entities have been sanctioned because of Russian aggression in Ukraine. Their accounts in the EU are frozen, and citizens of the Union have no right to provide them with financial assistance. Individuals do not have the right to enter the territory of the EU.
Ukraine issues a postage stamp depicting a defeated Putin
Ukraine has issued a postage stamp reproducing a mural by British street artist Banksy depicting a boy defeating an elderly man in judo to mark the first anniversary of the Russian invasion, AFP reported.
It was painted by Banksy on a ruined wall in the town of Borodyanka, northwest of Kyiv, where many buildings were reduced to rubble by Russian planes at the start of the invasion.
The image takes inspiration from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is known to have a black belt in judo, and depicts a young judoka representing Ukraine knocking down an elderly man.
The phrase "Get out, Putin" has been added to the bottom left of the new stamp.
At the end of 2022, a number of Banksy drawings also appeared in Kyiv.
Residents of the capital flocked to buy the new stamps on Friday at the main post office in central Kyiv's Maidan Square.
Among those waiting in line, Svetlana, a 50-year-old economist, wanted to get one of them "because I support the Ukrainian armed forces" and "the stamp was printed at a historic moment", one year after the start, on February 24, 2022, on Russian invasion.
Maxim, who also bought the feed from day one, said she was delighted to see "the first stamp from one of Banksy's works".
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