Russia invades Ukraine
On February 22, 2022, by declaring two Ukrainian regions “independent”, Putin has sent in “peacekeepers” and warned Ukraine not to fight back. The White House has issued immediate sanctions. Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered troops into Ukraine’s Donbas region, his second unprovoked invasion of the western-leaning former Soviet republic in eight years. Defying weeks of frantic international diplomacy and warnings from NATO member states, Putin declared in an angry speech that Moscow would grant formal diplomatic recognition to two breakaway republics held by Russian-backed militia groups.
The recognition essentially collapses the Minsk ceasefire agreement established after Russia illegally annexed Crimea in southern Ukraine. Putin said he would send Russian forces to the eastern Ukrainian republics as “peacekeepers.” President Joe Biden “strongly condemned” the announcement in calls with leaders of Ukraine, France and Germany, according to White House statements issued Monday. “We strongly condemn President Putin’s decision to recognize the so-called ‘Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics’ as ‘independent,'” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. “As we said when the Duma first made its request: this decision represents a complete rejection of Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements, directly contradicts Russia’s alleged commitment to diplomacy, and is a clear attack on Russia’s sovereignty. and the territorial integrity of Ukraine”.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley also spoke with Ukraine’s military chief Lieutenant General Valery Zaluzhny. “The President once again reaffirmed his unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Milley’s spokesman, Col. David Butler, said in a statement. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement: “I condemn Russia’s decision to extend recognition to the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ and ‘Lugansk People’s Republic.’ This further undermines Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, erodes efforts to resolve the conflict, and violates the Minsk Agreements, to which Russia is a party.” Putin’s statement followed a rare televised meeting of Russia’s national security council, in which the military and other leaders endorsed the territorial takeover, citing uncorroborated and controversial claims of Ukrainian attacks in eastern Ukraine.
Russian media broadcast the meeting as “live,” even though Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu’s watch showed five hours before the alleged live meeting. “Ukraine is not just a neighboring country for us: it is an inseparable part of our shared history, our comrades and relatives,” Putin said in a speech after the meeting, warning Ukraine’s leaders not to fight back. “As for those who captured and cling to power in Kiev: we demand that they immediately cease military action. Otherwise, the full responsibility for the possibility of continued bloodshed will fall fully and completely on the conscience of the regime that rules the territory of Ukraine,” according to a translation published by the New York Times. US officials have said that more than 50,000 Ukrainians could perish in a major Russian offensive.
In response, Biden on Monday issued the first economic sanctions related to the raid. They “prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by Americans to, from, or in the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine.” The president briefed leaders in Congress immediately after the order. Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement: “To be clear: These measures are separate from, and would be in addition to, the swift and harsh economic measures we have been preparing in coordination with allies and partners in the event that Russia invades further. Ukraine”. A senior administration official who later briefed reporters said more sanctions announcements would follow Tuesday. The official said Monday’s events unfolded as Blinken warned the UN Security Council they would last week, and that Putin has now exposed his true intentions after weeks of cat-and-mouse diplomacy with Moscow.
Putin’s orders effectively spell the end of the 2015 Minsk Agreements that were to govern the ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia, following Putin’s invasion of the Crimean peninsula and eastern Ukraine. “This would not only be a complete repudiation of the Minsk Agreements [and] indeed, Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. If carried out, this would again result in the disruption of the rules-based international order, under the threat of force,” Michael Carpenter, the US representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said on Monday. ). Russia’s move sparked frantic reactions from US security veterans who warned that Putin’s army might not stop in those two regions of Ukraine.