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Putin orders Russian troops to Ukraine after recognisin...

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Russia invades eastern Ukraine

Putin orders Russian troops to Ukraine after recognising breakaway regions

Members of the Ukrainian forces participate in an urban combat training exercise, organised by the Ukraine Ministry of Internal Affairs, within the exclusion zone in the abandoned city of Pripyat, Ukraine, on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. Russia denies any plans to invade Ukraine, saying the forces are on routine maneuvers, but it has warned Kyiv against making any military move against the separatist regions Moscow backs in the Donbas area.
By Reuters
22 Feb 2022 5

MOSCOW, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the deployment of troops to two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine after recognising them as independent on Monday, accelerating a crisis the West fears could unleash a major war.

  • Ukraine and West on alert for Russia creating pretext to invade
  • White House says summit possible only if Russia does not invade
  • Witness sees columns of military hardware entering Donetsk
  • Kyiv calls Russian allegation ‘fake news’
  • Rouble slides beyond 80 vs dollar as Putin addresses nation

By Andrew Osborn and Dmitry Antonov

A Reuters witness saw tanks and other military hardware moving through the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk after Putin issued a decree recognising the breakaway regions and told Russia’s defence ministry to send in forces to “keep the peace”.

The moves drew U.S. and European condemnation and vows of new sanctions although it was unclear whether it was Putin’s first major step toward a full-scale offensive in Ukraine that Western governments have warned about for weeks.

A senior U.S. official said the deployment to breakaway enclaves already controlled by separatists loyal to Moscow did not yet constitute a “further invasion” that would trigger the harshest sanctions, but that a wider military campaign could come at any time.

There was no word on the size of the force Putin was dispatching, but the decree said Russia now had the right to build military bases in the breakaway regions.

In a lengthy televised address packed with grievances against the West, a visibly angry Putin described Ukraine as an integral part of Russia’s history and said eastern Ukraine was ancient Russian lands. Read full story.

Russian state television showed Putin, joined by Russia-backed separatist leaders, signing a decree recognising the independence of the two Ukrainian breakaway regions – the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic – along with agreements on cooperation and friendship.

Defying Western warnings against such a move, Putin had announced his decision in phone calls to the leaders of Germany and France earlier, the Kremlin said.

Moscow’s action may well torpedo a last-minute bid for a summit with U.S. President Joe Biden to prevent Russia from invading Ukraine, which the senior U.S. official said was now in doubt.

Oil jumped to a seven-year high, safe-havens currencies like the yen rallied and U.S. stock futures dived as Europe’s eastern flank stood on the brink of war. Read full storyMKTS/GLOBRU/RUBO/R The rouble extended its losses as Putin spoke, at one point sliding beyond 80 per dollar. Read full story

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who received a solidarity call from Biden, accused Russia of wrecking peace talks and ruled out territorial concessions in an address to the nation early on Tuesday.

Biden, who also spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron and Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz, quickly signed an executive order to halt all U.S. business activity in the breakaway regions and ban import of all goods from those areas.

White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said the measures were separate from sanctions the United States and its allies have been readying if Russia invades Ukraine.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the executive order “is designed to prevent Russia from profiting off of this blatant violation of international law.”

The U.N. Security Council was due to meet publicly on Ukraine at 9 p.m. EST Monday (0200 GMT on Tuesday), a Russian diplomat said, following a request by the United States, Britain and France. Read full story

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s spokesman said Germany, France and the United States had agreed to respond with sanctions, while British Foreign Minister Liz Truss said Britain would announce new sanctions on Tuesday.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg accused Russia of “trying to stage a pretext” for a further invasion. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

In his address, Putin delved into history as far back as the Ottoman empire and as recent as the tensions over NATO’s eastward expansion. His demands that Ukraine drop its long-term goal of joining the Atlantic military alliance have been repeatedly rebuffed by Kyiv and NATO states. Read full story

With his decision to recognise the breakaway regions, Putin brushed off Western warnings.

“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 Lugansk People’s Republic,” Putin said.

A French presidential official said the speech “mixed various considerations of a rigid and paranoid nature”.

 

DIPLOMATIC WINDOW NARROWS

Putin has for years worked to restore Russia’s influence over nations that emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union, with Ukraine holding an important place in his ambitions.

Russia denies any plan to attack its neighbour, but it has threatened unspecified “military-technical” action unless it receives sweeping security guarantees, including a promise that Ukraine will never join NATO.

Recognition of the separatist-held areas will narrow the diplomatic options to avoid war, since it is an explicit rejection of a seven-year-old ceasefire mediated by France and Germany.

Separately, Moscow said Ukrainian military saboteurs had tried to enter Russian territory in armed vehicles leading to five deaths, an accusation dismissed as “fake news” by Kyiv.

Those developments fit a pattern repeatedly predicted by Western governments, who have accused Russia of preparing to fabricate a pretext to invade by blaming Kyiv for attacks and relying on pleas for help from separatist proxies.

Washington says Russia has massed a force numbering 169,000-190,000 troops in the region, including the separatists in the breakaway regions, and has warned of invasion at any moment.

 

 

(Reporting by Reuters bureaux; Writing by Matt Spetalnick, Kevin Liffey, Peter Graff, Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Grant McCool and Stephen Coates)

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  • with these ‘world leaders’ around it is small wonder that the world is in the mess it is. clearly none of them know the game chess and if they do are bringing disgrace to its name. start with sanctions to show the seriousness of what one is threatening and for every move putin makes increase sanctions and drop a bomb of two on his head!

  • The silence as always when it comes to international crises is silent. Somebody having a drink with uncle Gweezy needs to tell him about the Ukraine’s gas reserves, perhaps… or perhaps a well-meaning sign language school could donate lessons to the entire staff cohort of our ministry named, ‘Department of International Relations and Co-operation’. Then at least they could say something and remain silent on the issues.

    • When the deputy president of our country visits to Putinland for yet ‘undisclosed’ reasons … and Gweezy still hankers after a Russian ‘nuclear’ deal, are you not expecting a bit much ?

  • I wonder if these pumped up egotistical leaders EVER consider the needs and aspirations of the common people. War is waged by these errant leaders and the only losers are the common people. Putin clearly has no interest in the peoples of Ukraine and his only concern is the abundant mineral deposits that Ukraine possess

  • When a country like the US (and its several acolytes) cannot distinguish between an invasion (the sending of troops on a mythical “PEACE” – sic! mission) and a coup, the world is in real trouble ! Maybe just the Novichok has not YET (thanks Juju) been rolled out in this instance !

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