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Reaction In Unison

Countries have imposed sanctions on Moscow in the wake of the Russian military operation in Ukraine. Neighbouring Albania, too, has strongly criticised President Vladimir Putin for triggering the armed conflict. The tiny South-east European nation, situated in the Balkan Peninsula with Adriatic and Ionian coastlines, has renamed a street in its capital Tirana, where the Russian and Ukrainian Embassies are located, as ‘Free Ukraine’. Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj told Reuters that they renamed the street to honour Ukraine’s resistance to war.

Prior to this, the street was named after Danika Kastrioti, the wife of Gjergj Kastriotin (May 6, 1405 – January 17, 1468), also known as Skanderbeg. Skanderbeg, considered as Albania’s national hero, was a Feudal Lord and Military Commander who led a rebellion against the Ottoman Empire in what is today Albania, North Macedonia, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia. It may be noted that the embassies of Serbia and Kosovo, too, are located here.

Anti-Russian protesters in Albania

Albania, a member of NATO, imposed multiple sanctions against Russia soon after President Putin launched the military operation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Tirana also closed its airspace for Russia, apart from renaming the street.

Mayor Veliaj stressed: “Our generation will be marked by this bloody Russian aggression, and the heroic resistance of Ukraine should be remembered in our public places.” The Mayor claimed that the new name would be a reminder for the Russian Embassy staff, stating: “The Russians will have to work, live and get their mail on a Free Ukraine street address.

A member of a civil society lights a candle during a protest in solidarity with the Ukrainian people after Russia’s military operation against Ukraine, front of the Russian embassy in Tirana on February 24, 2022 (Reuters)

Meanwhile, Mayor of Kiev Vitali Volodymyrovych Klitschko claimed on March 6 that a family died in the Russian attack in front of his eyes, saying that the Russian forces detonated explosives on an escape route from the Ukrainian capital. The mayor further said that many received serious injuries in the blast. At the same time, he made it clear that the people of Ukraine would remain strong and defiant in the face of Russian invasion, although they would require help from the global community. “We need unity, we need pressure, we need sanctions, we need weapon support. We defend our city, our houses, our families,” he stressed.

Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klitschko

The local military administration in Kiev, too, has urged international agencies to lend a helping hand to the former in tackling the increasing humanitarian crisis. The military administration has issued a statement, saying: “Thousands of people have been living a pathetic life due to the Russian invasion. In some areas, there is no water, no food, no electricity, no treatment for injured people. They are living helplessly as they have no way to earn their bread.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has confirmed that at least 270 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since February 24 (2022), while nearly two million people have left the former Soviet Republic for other countries.

War-ravaged Kiev

Meanwhile, the Paid Media (or Yellow Journalism) have made it increasingly difficult for the Global Community to asses the real situation in Ukraine. Russia and other pro-Kremlin governments in Europe and Asia have claimed that Kiev did not disclose the actual number of deaths during the invasion. According to Moscow, the Russian troops have been asked not to attack innocent civilians, and Kiev’s claim in this regard is false. A video, recently went viral on the Social Media, has revealed the strategy adopted by Ukraine to tarnish the image of the Russian soldiers.

The Video

However, Ukraine has rubbished such an allegation, saying that the Russian troops are violating the rules of war by targeting innocent people. Kiev has also released a video, showing the Russian missile destroying a hospital. Currently, the International Community is heavily depending on the Russian and the Ukrainian media to get war-related information.

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