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Putin orders troops into pro-Russian regions of eastern Ukraine — and US reacts with sanctions

 


Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly ordered troops into separatist-held parts of eastern Ukraine in what he called a “peacekeeping” mission.

According to CNN, the order came just hours after he signed decrees recognising the independence of the Moscow-backed regions.

The decrees signed by Putin conveyed Moscow’s official recognition over two breakaway territories in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine — the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic (DPR and LPR).

The decrees recognised them as independent states and guaranteed their security with Russian troops. The decrees also said the Russian peacekeeping forces would be deployed in the regions.

In a speech on Monday, Putin decried Kyiv’s growing security ties with the west, adding that “Ukraine has never had traditions of its own statehood”. He also called the eastern part of the country “ancient Russian lands”.

“I deem it necessary to make a decision that should have been made a long time ago – to immediately recognise the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic,” Putin said.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US ambassador to the UN, reportedly told an emergency meeting of the UN security council on Monday evening that Putin’s recognition of the pro-Moscow regions was an “attempt to create a pretext for a further invasion”.

She said his claim that Russian forces are entering those regions as “peacekeepers” is “nonsense”.

“We know what they really are,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

According to ABC News, the White House said President Joe Biden would soon issue an executive order “that will prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by U.S. persons to, from, or in” the two Ukrainian regions under the control of Russian-backed separatists.

”The order will also provide authority to impose sanctions on any person determined to operate in those areas of Ukraine,” Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said in a statement. She added that the US “will also soon announce additional measures related to today’s blatant violation of Russia’s international commitments”.

In an address early Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia’s actions violate the country’s “national integrity and sovereignty” and Ukraine’s international borders will “remain as such”.

“We are on our land. We are not afraid of anything and anyone. We don’t owe anything to anyone, and we will not give away anything to anyone. And we are confident of this,” he said.

He added that Ukraine had initiated an emergency meeting with the Normandy Four, which includes Germany, Russia and France.

The Ukraine-Russian crisis stems from the protracted Russia-Ukrainian war that began in early 2014.

Russia had annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and reportedly threw its weight behind a separatist rebellion after then-President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted.

 

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