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People's Daily Online

Russia-Ukraine conflicts intensify, sending shock waves across world

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:45, February 26, 2022

KIEV, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Russia and Ukraine are plunging deeper into the mire of military conflict, sending shock waves across the world.

According to the latest information released by the two sides, multiple military targets across Ukraine were under attack; fighting was reported across several fronts; explosions were heard in the center of Ukraine's capital Kiev.

The shock waves of the conflicts have battered the world's major markets, bringing stocks down to new lows. Due to fears of supply disruptions, crude oil and natural gas prices jumped to multi-year highs.

INTENSIFYING CONFLICT

The Russian Defense Ministry said Friday that the Russian Armed Forces have disabled 118 military infrastructure facilities in Ukraine.

Eleven military airfields, 13 command posts and communication centers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, 14 S-300 and Osa anti-aircraft missile systems, and 36 radar stations were among the facilities put out of order, the ministry's Zvezda broadcaster reported, citing Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov.

On Friday morning, serial explosions rocked Kiev, which Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko later called "attacks by our air defenses on enemy planes or drones," citing operative information.

Mayor Vitali Klitschko tweeted that three people were injured, among whom one was in critical condition, after missile debris hit a residential building.

He also posted a photo showing a building with part of its wall torn down and emergency services present at the scene.

Advisor to head of the President's Office of Ukraine Mykhailo Podoliak said Russian forces have seized the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported on Thursday.

Meanwhile, eyewitnesses captured images on camera of what appeared to be a rocket flying over the skies of Bershad in the Vinnytsia region.

Since Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized "a special military operation" in Donbass on Thursday, multiple military installations across Ukraine, including airfields, command posts, naval bases and radar stations, have been destroyed.

In response, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been calling for more severe sanctions against Russia by the United States and its Western allies and ordered a full military mobilization that would last 90 days.

SHOCK WAVES

Amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, turmoil swept global financial markets, triggering a massive sell-off in major stock markets on Thursday.

The FTSE 100, the leading benchmark for Britain-listed blue-chip companies, ended the session down 3.88 percent at 7,207.01. The Paris CAC 40 plunged 3.83 percent or 259.62 points to 6,521.05. The German benchmark DAX index fell by 3.96 percent or 579.26 points to 14,052.10.

Russia-related companies listed in London were among the most affected of the FTSE 100.

Fears that oil supply would be disrupted sent prices much higher on Thursday. The rally was led by Brent oil, a global benchmark, which surged above 100 U.S. dollars a barrel, a level not seen since 2014.

In 2021, Russia remained among the largest suppliers of natural gas and petroleum oils to the European Union, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the union. Ukraine is a key transit hub for Russian oil and gas.

"Russia's pivotal role in the global energy supply cannot be downplayed and commodity markets have already started to price in the risk of disruption to Russia's energy exports to the West," said Capital Economics.

U.S. stocks tumbled on Thursday morning but finished higher on the day, as investors assessed the geopolitical tensions over Ukraine. Analysts cautioned that continued volatility is expected amid uncertainty over the Ukraine crisis coupled with policy tightening from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Tokyo stocks closed sharply lower Thursday, with the benchmark Nikkei stock index falling to a 15-month low as investors offloaded issues amid concerns over the Ukraine issue.

South Korean stocks plunged 2.6 percent Thursday amid growing fears over the Ukraine issue. The benchmark KOSPI tumbled 70.73 points, or 2.60 percent, to settle at 2,648.80. It was the lowest close in about four weeks since Jan. 27.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Thursday expressed deep concerns over the Ukraine crisis, noting that the multilateral lender is "assessing the implications."

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States said on Thursday that it is extending its no-fly zone in Eastern Europe as conflicts in Ukraine are unfolding.

The FAA said in a statement that it issued Notices to Air Missions (NOTAMs) expanding the area in Eastern Europe and Russia where U.S. airlines and U.S. pilots cannot operate.

"The expanded NOTAMs now cover the entire country of Ukraine, the entire country of Belarus and a western portion of Russia," the statement read.

The Moldovan parliament on Thursday declared a state of emergency for 60 days across the country amid the latest developments in neighboring Ukraine.

Tunisia decided to send a plane to Poland to withdraw Tunisians residing in Ukraine and wishing to return to Tunisia, reported Tunis Afrique Presse on Thursday.

EFFORTS TO RESTORE DIALOGUE UNDERWAY

Abdulla Shahid, president of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), on Thursday called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and peaceful means to settle disputes.

"I call for an immediate ceasefire, deescalation of tensions and a firm return to diplomacy and dialogue," said the UNGA president in a statement.

Underscoring that the UN Charter is based on the principle of sovereign equality, Shahid called on all member states to settle their international disputes by peaceful means.

"I renew my call to all member states to uphold their obligations under international law and international humanitarian law," said the UNGA president.

"The safe and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and its people is a priority and the need of the hour," he said.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told a meeting with top military brass that the purpose of Russia's military operation in Donbass is to prevent local destruction and civilian casualties in Donetsk and Lugansk, noting that even though the conflict has already begun, the sides must find ways to prevent bloodshed and a full-scale war.

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen said on Thursday that "everything must now be done to avoid further escalation and to protect lives."

Emphasizing that "peace comes first," Van der Bellen said the way to the negotiating table must be open to all sides.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian tweeted on Thursday that "The #Ukraine crisis is rooted in NATO's provocations."

It is "imperative to establish ceasefire & to find a political and democratic resolution," he added.



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