Both the BBC and CNN reconfirmed on Saturday that Indians in Ukraine attempting to cross over into Poland have been facing racial abuse from Ukrainian security forces. There have been persistent reports of this nature for over a week now.
Amit Lath, vice-president of the Indo-Polish Chamber of Commerce, claimed that even women have been beaten up, either held up for days or not permitted to leave Ukraine at the border posts.
While the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinkin, toured the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) countries in eastern Europe on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman disclosed that the two nations were talking through certain channels.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov revealed at a news briefing: “We are maintaining certain channels of a dialogue with the United States.”
He was answering a question on the current state of relations between Russia and the US following sanctions imposed by Washington and a tense relationship in general between them as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. There was no ratification of this from Washington.
Claims of casualties vary widely between the two directly warring countries in the Russia-Ukraine outbreak of hostilities in what is really a battle between Russia and the West for strategic advantage on the security front.
In Moscow, Major General Oigor Konashenkov of the Russian defence ministry maintained that Russian armed forces have struck over 2,000 Ukrainian military infrastructure facilities up to Saturday morning, according to the Russian news agency, TASS.
Konashenkov is reported to have said: “Overall, some 2,037 Ukrainian military infrastructure facilities were hit during the operation. They included 71 command posts and communication centres of the Kiev forces; S-300, Buk and 9K33 Osa missile systems as well as 61 radar stations.”
He further stated that some 66 aircraft were hit on the ground and 16 aircraft in the air, while as many as 708 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 74 multiple rocket launchers, 261 field artillery and mortars, 505 units of special military vehicles as well as 56 unmanned aerial vehicles were also destroyed.
The Russian Defense Ministry insisted that Russian troops were not targeting Ukrainian cities; and limiting themselves to incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure. Even if this is true, there has apparently been collateral civilian casualties.
Meanwhile, after Russia Today was banned in the European Union, Britain and the United States, the Kremlin has retaliated by yanking western counterparts like BBC and CNN in Russia. US social media platform Facebook is also no longer available in Russia.