According to the BBC, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered troops into two rebel-held regions in eastern Ukraine. Russian forces have been amassed at Ukraine’s borders amid the US’ repeated warnings that they are ready to invade Ukraine. The Russian military said that its troops would perform “peacekeeping” duties in the breakaway regions it has supported since 2014.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has stated that his nation was “not afraid of anybody or anything”. Zelensky called for “clear and effective actions of support” from its international allies in a late-night televised address to the nation.
“It is very important to see now who our real friend and partner is, and who will continue to scare the Russian Federation with words only,” he added.
According to the US, calling Russia peacekeepers is “nonsense”. It claimed that Russia has fabricated the pretext for war. The US said that it would continue to follow diplomacy “until the tanks roll”, in response to Putin’s order to deploy in separatist areas of Ukraine.
After Putin announced that “the Peace Treaty comes into force on the day it is signed”, Russian troops were deployed as “peacekeepers” in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
“We will never abandon our sovereignty and national values,” Putin said. Despite European nations’ requests not to go ahead with the treaties with Ukraine’s rebel regions, Putin signed the decree recognising the self-proclaimed states. This provides both sides the right to build military bases in the two breakaway regions, the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic. Two “friendship treaties” have been sent to parliament for ratification by the Russian president.
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Meanwhile, the United Kingdom announced that it would introduce “a package of sanctions” immediately. Putin responded, “We are again being blackmailed by threats of new sanctions. Which, I think, they will impose anyway, as our sovereignty and military will grow.” According to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, US President Biden signed an executive order prohibiting new investment, trade, and financing by US persons to, from, or within the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine.
It will “provide authority to impose sanctions on any person determined to operate in those areas of Ukraine,” said Psaki, adding that sanctions would possibly be widened if Russia invades Ukraine further.
The Russian government has been supporting an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine for the past eight years. Since then, some 14,000 people – including many civilians – have died during the fighting. Russian passports have been issued to a large number of people in Donetsk and Luhansk in recent years. Since late last week, several women, children, and the elderly have been evacuated from rebel-held areas to Russia. During an hour-long address on Monday, Putin described the region of eastern Ukraine as “ancient Russian lands”.