The U.S. and its European allies immediately reacted to the Russian president’s recognition that the two regions of eastern Ukraine were independent.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops to Ukraine Monday, hours after he officially recognized independence from two Moscow-backed regions in the eastern portion of the country.
This order is likely to be seen as an escalation in the conflict between Ukraine, Russia and on a day that tensions rose as Putin advanced with the formal recognition a region breakaway and gave a long speech about the relationship between Russia and Ukraine.
Putin described the troop movement in both countries as “peacekeeping.” The recognition of both regions was considered by the United States and its European allies to be a provocative act and part of an excuse to invade Ukraine . This led to sanctions being imposed by the United States (US) and the European Union.
Experts believed that Moscow’s recognition would end , a ceasefire agreement which some Western allies believed could help them out of the crisis.
In a broad-ranging, televised speech Monday night, Putin described Ukraine to be a historical section of Russia that was illegally taken from Moscow. It is now controlled by a “puppet” regime under the control of the U.S.
He said that Ukraine is more than a neighboring nation. They are part of our culture.
He noted that Ukraine had taken down some Soviet-era statues and warned Kyiv: “You want decommunization?” We’ll show you how it feels.”
The decree was signed by him, officially recognizing the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic as well as Luhansk People’s Republic. These two republics have been under control of Russian-backed separatists from 2014.
He was accompanied by Leonid Pasechnik and Denis Pushilin, the heads of Donetsk-Luhansk republics.
Shortly after Putin had finished his speech, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zilenskyy declared he had spoken with President Joe Biden Monday afternoon. He also said that he would soon be speaking with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. According to a White House official, the call lasted approximately 35 minutes.
The White House read out Biden’s conversation with Zelenskyy and stated that Biden had “strongly condemned Putin’s decision to purportedly recognise the ‘independence” of Donetsk, Luhansk.
“President Biden reiterated the United States’ determination to respond quickly and decisively, in lockstep with its Allies, partners, and to further Russian aggression towards Ukraine,” continued the White House.
Biden also called French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The White House also stated that Biden and the European leaders discussed how they would continue to coordinate their responses on the next steps.
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, stated that Biden would soon sign an executive order banning U.S. trade and investment in the Ukrainian separatist regions. The administration will also be able to sanction anyone operating in these areas under the authority of that order.
She stated that she had anticipated Russia’s move and was ready to react immediately. These measures are not part of the rapid and severe economic measures that we have been preparing in coordination avec Allies and Partners in case Russia invades Ukraine.
The European Union strongly condemned Putin’s recognition in Ukraine of two areas.
In a joint statement, President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission and President Charles Michel of the European Council stated that “this step is a flagrant violation of international law and of Minsk agreements.” “The Union will respond with sanctions against those who are involved in this illegal act.”
The U.S. Congress delegation to the Munich Security Conference also pledged to work toward emergency legislation that would “best support our NATO allies, the people of Ukraine, as well as support freedom and security around the globe.”
According to the statement of the bipartisan group led by Sens., “No matter the outcome in the next days, we must ensure that the dictator Putin’s corrupt oligarchs pay an awful price for their decisions.” Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.
The Russian parliament and its top officials have requested that Putin recognize the Ukrainian territories. The Moscow-backed leaders from the two regions that broke away had asked Putin to do so earlier Monday.
Separatist leaders called last week for the evacuation of civilians to Russia in warning of a possible Ukrainian offensive. The Ukrainian government has denied plans to attack the region and called for diplomatic resolution.
According to Russian emergency ministry officials, more than 60,000 people had arrived in Russia since Monday.
According to two sources, officials from the Biden administration have been discussing plans with the Ukrainian government to allow Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian government, to leave Kyiv in case of an invasion by Russia.
According to people familiar with the discussions, Zelenskyy would move to Lviv, Ukraine in the future, according to a plan. It is approximately 50 miles from the Polish border.
In a series of telephone calls that lasted late into the night on Sunday, the French President Emmanuel Macron attempted to broker a meeting between American and Russian Presidents to avoid Europe’s worst crisis since the Cold War.
According to the White House, Biden agreed to a meeting with Putin “in principe” if Russia does not invade Ukraine first. Although the Kremlin stated that there were no concrete plans for a summit it did not rule out one.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced Monday that he would meet Antony Blinken, Secretary of State on Thursday in Geneva — possibly a precursor to a Biden–Putin summit. Blinken previously stated that the meeting would be cancelled if Russia invades Ukraine.
Russia has been building tens of thousands troops close to Ukraine’s borders over the past weeks. This has sparked fears of an invasion, which it strongly denies.
Moscow extended large-scale military drills to Ukraine’s northern border with Belarus, its close ally. These drills were supposed to end Sunday. This added to tensions and speculation about Russia’s potential use of the military buildup in the region to attack Ukraine from its north.
This renewed frenzy of diplomacy is occurring amid increasing shelling in Ukraine. Independent monitors reported over the weekend a marked increase in cease-fire violations.
The U.S. and its allies accuse Russia of plotting to stage “false Flag” operations in the region, which could be used as an excuse to invade.
The separatists and the Ukrainian forces have been blaming each other for the escalating shelling in the area. The Ukrainian military reported that two soldiers from Ukraine were killed during the violence intensifying over the weekend. Separatist forces also reported two civilian deaths Sunday.
Both separatists and Ukrainian forces reported that they continued to shell residential settlements Monday.
Late Sunday, Ukraine claimed that separatist forces opened fire on rebel-controlled Luhansk as a provocation to place blame on Ukrainian forces.
According to the Russian FSB security agency, a shell from Ukraine had struck a border post in Russia’s Rostov area on Monday, but did not cause any injuries. According to Interfax, the incident took place approximately 500 feet away from the border between Russia & Ukraine.
Oleksii Reznikov, the Ukrainian Defense Minister, told reporters that Ukraine had “nothing” to do with the attack. Separately, the border service of Ukraine called the claims by FSB “an outright provocation.”
Separately, Moscow claimed Monday that Ukrainian military saboteurs tried to enter Russian territory. This led to five deaths. Kyiv dismissed the accusation.
Fears of an invasion by Russia have caused collateral damage to the Ukrainian economy. However, Russia’s markets showed signs of nervousness on Monday.
Reuters reported that the ruble fell to a record three-week low and Russian stocks plummeted.