Days after Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi and China's President Xi Jinping expressed their concerns about the war in Ukraine with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the SCO summit in Samarkhand, the tyrant of the Kremlin has raised the military stakes in the conflict.
Putin has announced a partial military mobilisation in Russia, saying, 'West has crossed the line. West is calling to weaken, divide and destroy Russia.'
The West 'wants to destroy our country', Putin declared in a pre-recorded video speech, and claimed the West had tried to 'turn Ukraine's people into cannon fodder'.
Meanwhile, the authorities in pro-Russian areas in Ukraine say they will conduct a referendum this weekend to merge with Russia, a move condemned by France and Turkey on Tuesday night.
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IMAGE: Members of Ukrainian emergency services seen during the exhumation of over 440 bodies
discovered in the town of Izium, recently liberated by Ukrainian armed forces, in the Kharkiv region. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters
IMAGE: Ukrainian soldiers with the body of a brother-in-arms exhumed in the village of Kozacha Lopan. Photograph: Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/Reuters
IMAGE: Members of Ukrainian emergency services, the local police and experts work at the site of the mass burial in Izium. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters
IMAGE: A Ukrainian soldier weeps next to a coffin with the body of Olga Simonova, who quit Russia in 2014 to fight for Ukraine and was recently killed by Russian troops in the Donetsk region, at her funeral in Kyiv. Photograph: Vladyslav Misiienko/Reuters
IMAGE: A soldier sits inside a tank at a position near a frontline in Donetsk region. Photograph: Reuters
IMAGE: Ukrainian soldier Tetyana Dovgopola is helped by her husband Andrij Dovgopolyi as she jumps out their squad's BM21 Grad multiple rocket launcher at a position near the frontline in the Mykolaiv region. Photograph: Umit Bektas/Reuters
IMAGE: A woman walks past a destroyed building in Izium. Photograph: Umit Bektas/Reuters
IMAGE: Firefighters extinguish a fire in Donetsk. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters
IMAGE: A woman takes a picture inside the basement of a building, which Ukrainian authorities say was a makeshift Russian prison and torture chamber in the village of Kozacha Lopan in the Kharkiv region. Photograph: Viktoriia Yakymenko/Reuters
IMAGE: A destroyed bridge over the Siverskyi Donets river in Izium. Photograph: Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/Reuters
IMAGE: A sapper checks an area as rescuers work at a residential building damaged by a Russian military strike. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters
IMAGE: An Ukrainian soldier treats local residents to apples. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters
Photographs curated by Manisha Kotian/Rediff.com
Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com