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Russia鈥檚 war on Ukraine escalated sharply Friday after President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed four eastern Ukraine territories, prompting Kyiv to apply for fast-track membership in NATO and the U.S. and Canada to promise more support.

Before China鈥檚 sabre-rattling response to Pelosi鈥檚 visit, Taiwan was already in the global spotlight following Russia鈥檚 invasion of Ukraine. Many observers believe that Taiwan could be the centre of the next major conflict.

Canada, U.S. and Europe direct more sanctions at Putin鈥檚 annexation of Ukraine鈥檚 eastern territories as Russian threats escalate.

#Opinion: Canada says it won鈥檛 recognize Moscow鈥檚 decision to annex parts of Ukraine. Does that matter? Probably not. But it does underline Ottawa鈥檚 desire to earn symbolic victories in the war that is tearing Ukraine apart.

It would be tempting to view recent events in Russia and Ukraine as solely encouraging. But the conflict in Ukraine will continue to demand resolve and unity, military action and deft diplomacy to contain the Russian bully. #StarEditorial

Pro-Moscow officials say residents in one of the four occupied areas of Ukraine voted to join Russia in Kremlin-orchestrated referendums.

#Opinion: In dark times, there are glimpses of hope in Ukraine, Iran and even Canada鈥檚 relations with China. Vladimir Putin faces unprecedented protests and Canada seems ready to take on China on its human rights abuses.

#Opinion: Putin appears to be covertly threatening a nuclear catastrophe that could make parts of Ukraine uninhabitable, contaminate eastern Europe and spread radioactivity throughout the European continent and beyond.

The onset of autumnal weather, with rains making fields too muddy for tanks, is beginning to cloud Ukraine鈥檚 efforts to take back more Russian-held territory before winter freezes the battlefields, a Washington-based think tank said Sunday.

#Analysis: In Russia, Vladimir Putin鈥檚 brand is stability. At least, it was until this week. What鈥檚 more frightening than the police truncheon and the threat of jail? The now very real prospect of being handed a gun and dispatched to Ukraine.

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