Latest in Ukraine: Japan and Australia join US and Europe in imposing sanctions on Russia

Military tensions in eastern Ukraine, where Russia has recognized and sent troops to two breakaway republics, prompted Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to order the island on Wednesday to improve its defense capabilities.

The president’s office said Tsai called on his country to improve its surveillance of the Taiwan Strait, over which China frequently sends fighter jets to test the island’s defenses, after listening to a briefing on Ukraine.

Tsai also said Taiwan should step up its response to “cognitive warfare,” in which hostile forces seek to undermine morale using false information.

While diplomats and longtime observers of Chinese politics dismiss the idea that a successful Russian aggression in the Eastern European country could embolden China to employ similar tactics against the self-governing island, The United States and some of China’s neighbors fear that a war in Ukraine will make an already assertive Beijing even stronger.

Tsai pointed out that the situation in the two regions was “fundamentally different in terms of geostrategic environment, geography and importance of the international supply chain”, according to his office.

“However, all national security and national army units should improve their monitoring and early warning of military developments around the Taiwan Strait, and continue to strengthen relevant preparations to effectively respond to various situations and ensure security. national.”

Tsai also “condemned” Russia’s recognition of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine and pointed to how tensions could affect domestic grain, energy and stock prices. She called for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

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