Russia has launched a “full-scale invasion” of Ukraine, which aims to conquer Ukrainian territory and establish a regime loyal to Moscow, said the Ukraine embassy in Cyprus.
According to a statement, Russia’s actions constitute “an act of war, a gross violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, of the United Nations Charter and the fundamental norms and principles of international law”.
It said the Russian air force and artillery are shelling Ukrainian cities, military bases and command centres, while Russian troops have entered Ukrainian territory from Belarus and occupied Crimea.
“Ukraine has activated its right to self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter, with the Ukrainian military repelling attacks by Russian invading troops.”
The Ukrainian embassy urged the international community to take steps to immediately stop Russia, which includes “devastating sanctions, including access to the SWIFT system, the complete isolation of Russia by all possible means, and the provision of military equipment, financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine”.
Russia’s plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territories, but the protection of civilians and Russian citizens in Donetsk and Lugansk, Russian ambassador Stanislav Osadchiy said in a statement to CNA on Thursday.
He said the ruble’s volatility on the foreign exchange market, provoked by the new package of sanctions, will significantly increase the cost of tourist packages denominated in euros, which may negatively affect the tourist traffic from Russia to Cyprus.
“Russia has been doing everything in the last eight years to ensure that the situation in Donbas is resolved peacefully within the framework of the Minsk agreements.
“But we see the forces that seized power in Kyiv in 2014 have ultimately abandoned the peace agreements at the official level.
“The United States and its European allies over the years have chosen the path of hushing up the crimes of the Kyiv regime in southeastern Ukraine and the actual genocide of the Russian population in the region.
“The United States and NATO countries decided to fill the country with modern types of weapons, pushing it into war.
“Washington launched an unprecedented campaign of disinformation and demonisation of Russia to shift the responsibility for the tragic consequences of Ukraine’s reckless game to Moscow.
“We cannot and will not ignore this. We were simply left without any other way to protect our people except the measures we used today.”
Osadchiy said, “Russia’s plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territory, but we are also not going to wait until the Kyiv regime, with the support and tacit approval of the West, arranges a `bloodbath` in eastern Ukraine.
“We will protect civilians in Donetsk and Lugansk, including the citizens of the Russian Federation who live there.”
Asked whether EU sanctions might affect bilateral relations between Russia and Cyprus, Osadchiy noted that “once again our bilateral relations are becoming a hostage to others’ geopolitical games whose aim is to undermine the friendly relations between the two countries.”