Next 24 hours are ‘crucial’ in Ukraine as resistance faces pressure
After Russia launched an extensive military operation against Ukraine on February 27, 2022, a Ukrainian soldier is seen at the checkpoint in Zhytomyr (Ukraine), photograph by CHARLES MARTINEZ
Viacheslav Ratynskyi | Reuters
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he believes the next 24 hours will be a “crucial period” for his country as Ukrainian troops — and citizens that have taken up arms — continue to fight invading Russian forces.
Zelenskyy said the comments to Boris Johnson on Sunday night, following Johnson’s praise of Ukrainian bravery. Zelenskyy also received praise for Zelenskyy’s “leadership in the face such adversity”. the British government said in a statement.
Russian troops continue to invade Ukraine from the south, east, and north. Assaults are taking place both on the ground — with street fighting reported in a number of cities — and from the air, with major shelling attacks damaging buildings and causing injuries and loss of life in some cases.
A number of blasts could be heard overnight in Kharkiv in Ukraine and in Kyiv the capital. This was just before the city lifted a two-day curfew Monday morning, allowing those who remained in the city to go outside.
The Ukrainian armed forces as well as volunteer fighters are defending the country against Russian invasion. Multiple reports claim that Russia has not advanced to the extent they had expected.
However, Ukraine’s resistance could soon be under greater pressure due to fears that Belarus might deploy troops to help Russia. CNBC reached out for comment to the Belarusian defense minister.
Belarus indicated it may host Russian nuclear arms after the referendum that approved reforms to its constitution that would see it renounce non-nuclear status.
This move, which is seen widely as another step towards Belarus’ support of Russia’s ally Russia, comes shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin. put his country’s nuclear deterrence forces on high alert Sunday amid a growing global backlash against the invasion.
On Sunday, President Lukasenko of Belarus warned that “If you [the West]”Transfer nuclear weapons to Poland and Lithuania to our borders. Then I will turn towards Putin to return nuclear weapons I gave away with no conditions,” Lukashenko stated.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to Alexander Lukashenko about Belarus during a Kremlin meeting in Moscow on February 18, 2022.
Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik | Reuters
Lukashenko’s constant saber-rattling aside, Ukraine offered to host peace negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian officials. The exact time of the talks is still unknown, but the Ukrainian presidency announced Monday that a delegation arrived in Ukraine to meet with Russian officials.
Zelensky stated in video on Sunday that while he didn’t expect any breakthroughs in talks, he was open to trying: “I will be honest, as usual, I don’t really believe in this meeting’s outcome, but they can try.”
Due to the unpredictable and chaotic nature of emergency responses and fighting, it is difficult to determine the exact number of Russian or Ukrainian casualties. Numerous reports out of Ukraine suggest that hundreds of civilians, many including children, have been killed. Ukraine also claims that thousands of Russian troops were killed.
Russia is yet to disclose the total number of casualties. However, its defense ministry stated that on Sunday “there were killed and injured among the Russian military”, according to the BBC. Russia claims its losses are “severalfold less” than those of the “exterminated Ukrainians.”
According to Monday’s update from the U.K. Ministry of Defense, “The majority of Putin’s ground troops remain over 30km north of Kyiv.” The U.K. Ministry of Defense stated that Ukrainian forces were defending Hostomel’s airfield. This is the key Russian goal for the first day of conflict.
The report also stated that heavy fighting continued around Chernihiv, Kharkiv, but both cities are still under Ukrainian control” and that on a larger level, logistical failures as well as staunch Ukrainian resistance continue the Russian advance.
To stop Russia from invading its territory, the West is increasing pressure on Russia by imposition of a number of sanctions. Canada, Europe, and the U.S. agreed Saturday to take key Russian banks out of SWIFT’s interbank messaging system. They also sanctioned their central bank. Both the U.K. & EU also have closed their airspace to Russian aircraftRussia, and seeks to isolate it further.