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Ukraine Crisis

Doing business with Russia: Is it a new world order in the Asia-Pacific?

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As the West sanctions Russia for its actions in Ukraine, many Asian states are resisting pressure from the West to take a stance on the unfolding conflict

As the West sanctions Russia for its actions in Ukraine, many Asian states are resisting pressure from the West to take a stance on the unfolding conflict.  

Following the invasion, many western nations including the U.S, Australia, Britain and Canada imposed harsh bans on Russian oil purchases – and, because of this other countries are buying Russian oil at a discounted price.

India has come under criticism for purchasing at least 13 million barrels of Russian oil since the beginning of the Russian invasion in February.

In the last week India has further strained relations with Western powers for hosting a meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

Following the meeting, Lavrov insisted that the two nations would defy western sanctions by continuing to trade with each other.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

India not taking sides

Chandran Nair, CEO of pan-Asian think tank The Global Institute for tomorrow, told ticker news that by meeting with Russia, India is simply following its traditionally independent foreign policy.

“We are not going to align with your war in Europe and make it our most important thing” he says

He points to the recent visit of India by U.S diplomats as proof of their neutrality.

In addition to the visit by Lavrov, in the last few weeks, India has hosted China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, U.S Deputy National Security Adviser Daleep Singh and British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

Russia’s Lavrov / Image: File

Double Standard

Nair likens the war in Ukraine to that of the War on terror, and questions why there was no sanctions for Western powers when they invaded the Middle East.

“Most people in the Asian Pacifc region… have woken up to a glaring double standard” he says.

“No one cared much about the killing of Iraqis, Yemenis, Afghans etc.”

Chandran nair, ceo, The global institute for tomorrow

“If these new measures are being put in place, let’s ensure they are also put in place the next time the United States and the Western allies invade another county”

 “The World has Moved On”

Nair says that the U.S and its allies “are still clinging on to the view that their presence (in Asia) is still needed to ensure security”.

“The region as a whole does not believe that the United States is reliable, that the United States acts in the interests of everyone. I think everyone is aware that like most countries the United States acts in its own interests.”

Chandran nair, ceo, The global institute for tomorrow

He says “the world has moved on” from western reliance.

Ukraine Crisis

Biden & Johnson plans huge military build-up in Europe to counter Putin

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U.S. President Joe Biden announces increase in America’s military presence across Europe over threat from Vladimir Putin

It comes as tensions between Russia and the West remain tense over President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

There will now be a permanent U.S. army headquarters in Poland, with new warships on their way to Spain, fighter jets to the UK and even ground troops to Romania.

President Biden announces plans to bolster U.S. presence in Europe

Biden says the strategic alliance will be “strengthened in all directions across every domain – land, air and sea”.

NATO’s longstanding commitment to ‘defend every inch of its territory’ has been reaffirmed and Biden warns “an attack against one is an attack against all.”

The pledge from Biden includes more naval destroyers stationed in Spain, two F-35 fighter jet squadrons positioned in the United Kingdom and a permanent headquarters in Poland for the U.S. 5th Army Corps.

This increased force posture comes as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drags on and countries in Europe grow increasingly nervous about the war on their continent.

“The United States and our allies, we’re going to step up,” Biden said the start of the NATO summit in Madrid.

“We’re proving that NATO is more needed now than it ever has been and it’s as important as it ever has been.”

The current location of 13 U.S. bases in Europe

U.S. presence grows

Since February, when Russia invaded Ukraine, the U.S. Department of Defense has increased the number of U.S. troops in Europe to more than 100,000 service members, up from 80,000.

Here’s what the U.S plans to do in each European country:

  • Poland: permanent station for the 5th Army Corps Headquarters Forward Command Post, an Army garrison headquarters, and a field support battalion, to allow the U.S. to more easily deploy combat troops along NATO’s eastern flank
  • Romania: position a rotational brigade combat team
  • The Baltic region: increase rotational deployments of armored, aviation, air defense, and special operations forces
  • Spain: increase the number of destroyers stationed at Rota from four to six
  • United Kingdom: station two squadrons of F-35 fighter jets.
  • Germany: forward-station an air defense artillery brigade headquarters, a short-range air defense battalion, a combat sustainment support battalion headquarters, and an engineer brigade headquarters
  • Italy: forward-station a short-range air defense battery

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Ukraine Crisis

Sean Penn visits President Zelensky in Kyiv

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Sean Penn is the latest celebrity to travel to Ukraine and meet with President Zelensky

Actor Sean Penn is reportedly creating a documentary on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He is seeking to visit the war-torn areas where Russian troops have allegedly committed war crimes.

The leader thanked Penn for his support during the meeting. It comes a week after Zelensky met with Hollywood star Ben Stiller, who was visiting for humanitarian reasons.

“The whole world will soon be able to see the whole truth about the war thanks to his film. Sean, thank you for the support of our state and our people.”

UKRAINE’S PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY

Meanwhile, fresh vision has emerged of a Russian missile strike on a crowded shopping mall in the country’s east.

It’s understood 18 people are dead, and dozens are still missing. Moscow says it struck a nearby arms depot and is claiming the mall was empty at the time.

The blast sent shockwaves around surrounding areas, where people can be seen running away from the areas of impact.

Meanwhile, President Zelensky is calling Russia a terrorist state. He urged his U.N. counterparts to stand up and pay their respects, as he dialled in for urgent talks.

“Who of you does not agree that this is terrorism?”

UKRAINE’S PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY

Zelensky named victims of the war, including a three-month-old. He also drew on the U.N. Charter for maintaining international peace and security.

Meanwhile, Russia’s representatives expressed concern about President Zelensky’s speech. Dmitry Polyanskiy says he did not receive any consultation beforehand.

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Ukraine Crisis

Finland and Sweden one step closer to NATO membership as Turkey agrees

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Finland and Sweden are one step closer to NATO membership after Turkey officially agrees to support their nominations

Turkey has officially agreed to support Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership applications, paving the way for the two Nordic nations to join the strategic alliance. 

Lifting its veto, Turkey has now ended a weeks-long debate which has tested Western unity over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Finland’s President says the breakthrough comes after the three nations signed a joint memorandum to extend support against threats to each other’s security. 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the memorandum addresses Turkey’s concerns.

FILE PHOTO: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a news conference on the eve of a NATO summit, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Brussels, Belgium March 23, 2022. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

“I am pleased to announce that we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO,” he told reporters at the NATO summit in Madrid.

“Turkey, Finland and Sweden have signed a memorandum that addresses Turkey’s concerns, including around arms exports and the fight against terrorism,”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

This all happened just hours before a NATO summit began in Madrid, with leaders hoping to display unity in the face of Russian aggression. 

Finland and Sweden’s application to join the nuclear-armed alliance is the biggest shift in European security in decades. 

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the leaders of the G7 nations on Monday, pressing them for more heavy weaponry and help to end the war before winter sets in.

It comes as Russia defaults on debt for the first time in a century.

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