Ready to talk if Ukraine lays down arms, says Russia after launching invasion
Russia-Ukraine crisis: Russia invaded Ukraine in a widely condemned move after President Vladimir Putin declared war in the biggest attack on a European nation since World War II.
Russia is ready to talk to Ukraine if it 'lays down arms', Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has been quoted as saying by news agency AFP. Lavrov declared that Moscow did not want 'neo-Nazis' to govern Ukrainen and that Russia only wanted the Ukrainian people to be independent and be allowed to freely define their destiny.
The Russian minister also accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of lying when he said he was ready to discuss the neutral status of the former Soviet member.
And in comments that underline the bitter and hostile nature of Russia's aggression, Lavrov said Russia sees no possibility of recognising the current Ukrainian government as democratic.
Russia, meanwhile, has told India it expects to be supported over its decision to invade Ukraine when a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning its action comes up for a vote this evening.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a phone conversation with Putin last night and appealed for an immediate end to the violence.
India has, so far, not specifically criticised Russia for its actions but, at UNSC meetings, has called for the immediate de-escalation of tension on both sides.
Ahead of the vote the US sent a message to India, calling for a 'collective response' against what it called a violation of 'rules-based international order'.
Russia invaded Ukraine in a widely condemned move late Wednesday and early Thursday, after President Vladimir Putin declared war in the biggest attack on a European nation since World War II.
At least 137 people, including civilians were killed on the first day of fighting, with both Russia and Ukraine claiming some destruction of the other's military capabilities. Hundreds more are believed to have died today.
Fighting has worsened with reports Russian ground forces, including tanks, are closing in on Ukraine capital Kyiv from the north and the northeast.
Russian forces have launched powerful attacks - by land and air - that have pummelled Ukraine's defences, and have captured the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear plant, the site of a horrific meltdown in 1986.
Explosions and gunfire rang out across Kyiv before dawn.
Ukraine military has also claimed the presence of Russian spies in the capital's outskirts, with local police, at one point, detaining civilians in an underground metro station because of gunfire outside.
Ukraine President Zelenskiy has made multiple heartfelt appeals to the global community - whose response is being seen as led by the United States - to intervene and aid his country.
"If you don’t help us now… if you fail to offer a powerful assistance to Ukraine… tomorrow the war will knock on your door,” he said after snapping diplomatic ties with Moscow.
Zelenskiy has declared martial law and ordered a full military mobilization of his country's forces and, in a desperate attempt, has also urged citizens to take up arms against Russian soldiers. Ukraine's defence ministry has tweeted instructional videos on making Molotov cocktails.
Russia's actions have triggered multiple sanctions from the US and other western countries, but those seem to have little effect so far; US President Joe Biden has admitted it is unlikely they will.
With input from AFP