Ukraine was set to implement a 30-day state of emergency on Wednesday, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called up military reservists, as Russia recognized two breakaway regions as independent and appeared mobilized for major military action .
Zelenskyy said Ukraine wanted “silence” but noted it needed to act. “But if we remain silent today, we will disappear tomorrow,” he said on Tuesday evening.
The national parliament must approve the emergency declaration, initiated by Ukraine’s security council and coming a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin received permission from lawmakers to use troops outside the country.
The Kremlin’s actions have drawn widespread condemnation and major sanctions from the United States and the European Union.
“Russia has just announced that it is carving out a big chunk of Ukraine for itself,” President Joe Biden said on Tuesday. And that served as a trigger for the United States to impose sanctions targeting banks in Moscow, certain elite people. Biden said Russia “will pay an even higher price” if the aggression continues.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other officials have remained calm, downplaying any threat, even as their nation has become nearly surrounded by more than 150,000 Russian troops, accumulated over months. On Tuesday, Zelenskyy collected what amounted
Zelenskyy continued talks with neighboring leaders on Tuesday, holding talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Diplomacy between Russia and Western allies appeared almost dead, after the announcement of the sanctions. Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled his Thursday meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Continued:Why is Vladimir Putin threatening Ukraine? Respect, fear, power at stake in Russian leader’s motives
China opposes US sanctions on Russia
China on Wednesday accused the United States of creating “fear and panic” over the Ukraine crisis and called for talks to reduce rapidly building tensions.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China opposed the new unilateral sanctions imposed on Russia, reiterating a long-standing Chinese position.
She said the United States was fueling tensions by supplying defensive weapons to Ukraine, not to mention Russia’s deployment of 190,000 troops to Ukraine’s border. Hua also did not mention efforts by the United States, France and others to diplomatically engage Russia.
Sino-Russian relations have deepened under Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing earlier this month. The two sides issued a joint statement backing Moscow’s opposition to NATO expansion into former Soviet republics and bolstering China’s claim to the self-governing island of Taiwan.
– Associated press
US and EU impose sanctions on Russia
The sanctions Biden outlined on Tuesday target two Russian banks, VEB and the military bank Promsvyazbank, as well as sanctions on the country’s sovereign debt. The Biden administration has said these steps will be the most crippling.
The US official described the first US-targeted bank as “a glorified piggy bank for the Kremlin that holds over $50 billion in assets”. He said that the Promsvyazbank financed the activities of the Russian army.
“That means we have cut off the Russian government from Western funding,” he said. “He can no longer raise money in the West and can no longer trade his new debt in our markets or in European markets.”
Russian oligarchs have also been targeted, including: Aleksandr Vasilievich Bortnikov, director of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, and his son Dennis; Petr Mikhailovich Fradkov, Chairman and CEO of PSB, or Promsvyazbank; and Sergei Vladilenovich Kiriyenko, first deputy chief of staff of the presidential office, and his son Vladimir.
Contributor: Michael Collins, USA TODAY; Associated press