This Week's Headlines (19 - 25 Feb 2022)

25 Feb 2022


  Missiles rain down around Ukraine 


  Ukrainian forces battled Russian invaders on three sides on Thursday after Moscow unleashed
  the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two, prompting tens of thousands of
  people to flee their homes. 


  After Russian President Vladimir Putin declared war in a pre-dawn televised address, explosions
  and gunfire were heard through the day in Ukraine's capital and elsewhere in the country, with
  at least 70 people reported killed. 


  The assault brought a calamitous end to weeks of fruitless diplomatic efforts by Western leaders
  to avert war over Russian demands for a redrawing of post-Cold War security arrangements in


  "This is a premeditated attack," U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters at the White House as he
  unveiled harsh new sanctions, coordinated with allies, against Russian banks, oligarchs and state


  "Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the
  consequences," he said. 


  In his address, Putin said he had ordered "a special military operation" to protect people, including
  Russian citizens, subjected to "genocide" in Ukraine - an accusation the West calls baseless


  "And for this we will strive for the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine," Putin said.  


  After nightfall, a picture was emerging of fierce fighting across multiple fronts. President
  Volodymyr Zelensky late on Thursday ordered a general mobilization, to be carried out within
  90 days, "to ensure the defence of the state". 


  An adviser to the Ukrainian presidential office said Russian forces had captured the Chernobyl
  former nuclear power plant, just 90 km (60 miles) north of Kyiv. The plant is along the shortest
  route from the Ukrainian capital to Belarus, where Moscow has staged troops. 

  There was also fighting at Hostomel airport, just outside Kyiv, where Russian paratroopers landed.
  A Ukrainian official later said the airfield had been recaptured, while a senior U.S. defence official
  said Russian forces were advancing closer to Kyiv. 


  Heavy exchanges of fire were also reported in the regions of Sumy and Kharkiv in the northeast
  and Kherson in the south. 


  The highway heading west out of Kyiv, home to 3 million people, was choked with traffic across
  five lanes as residents sought to escape, fearful of bombardments while stuck in their cars. 


  The U.N. refugee agency said an estimated 100,000 Ukrainians had fled their homes. Thousands
  were crossing into neighbouring countries, including Romania, Moldova, Poland and Hungary.  


  Some 57 people were killed and 169 were wounded on Thursday, Ukraine's health minister said,
  while the interior ministry said 13 border guards died when a Russian vessel shelled Ukraine's
  Zmiinyi Island, south of the Black Sea port of Odessa. 


  Full article on Reuters 




  West Sumatra earthquake felt in Singapore, Malaysia 


  A magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck the near the western coast of Sumatra island on Friday, the
  country's geophysics agency BMKG said, though there was no risk of a tsunami or immediate
  reports of major damage.  


  The quake, which was on land at a depth of 10 km (6.21 miles), was felt as far away as Singapore
  and Malaysia and strongly in the nearby cities of Padang in West Sumatra province and in
  Pekanbaru in Riau Province, witnesses said.  


  "We continue to monitor and advise people to remain on alert," Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of
  BMKG, told MetroTV.  


  "Because this is on land, and the scale is above 6, we are concerned that it could cause some


  In Pasaman Barat, about 17 km from the epicentre, a witness told MetroTV patients in a hospital
  were evacuated from the building.  


  Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency could not immediately be reached for comment about


  Alim Bazar, head of the disaster mitigation agency of Pasaman city near the quake's epicentre,
  told AFP some buildings suffered cracks.  


  "The mayor called and ordered all second and third floors in every building should be vacated,"
  he said. Bazar said there were reports of some injuries, but did not have any details.  


  Irpanda, a resident of Pasaman city who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told Metro TV
  that he felt both the first and second tremors.  


  "At first, the quake only lasted for a few seconds. People fled their homes and buildings nearby
  were swaying," he said.  


  "But then another quake happened and it was so strong. More people fled their houses," he said,
  adding patients at a local hospital were moved outside.  


  Tremors were also felt in Singapore, witnesses and police said.  


  "Earth tremors were... felt in certain parts of Singapore at about 9:45 am," the police said in a


  The police and emergency services "have received several calls from the public reporting these
  tremors", the statement added.  


  Malaysia's meteorological department said in a tweet that "vibrations" were felt on the peninsula's
  western states.  


  "Vibrations felt in the western Peninsular area especially in Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan,
  Malacca and Johor," the department said in the tweet.  


  Indonesia suffers frequent earthquakes, straddling the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire", a highly
  seismically active zone, where different plates on the earth’s crust meets.  


  Last month, a 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck off Java island, prompting some residents in the
  capital Jakarta to flee from buildings in panic.  


  A more powerful 7.4 magnitude in Flores Sea triggered a tsunami warning in December, though
  caused only minor damage. 


  Source: The Jakarta Post