- Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to send troops to eastern Ukraine.
- According to a decree signed by the head of the Moscow Kremlin, the units will work to ensure peace in the “Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics”, which are now recognized by Moscow as independent states.
- The European Union and the United States announced sanctions against Russia after Russia recognized Donetsk and Luhansk.
It was not clear at first when the soldiers would be sent. In addition, Putin instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to establish diplomatic relations with the two regions that belong to Ukraine under international law.
Russian President Putin had previously recognized the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in eastern Ukraine as independent “people’s republics”. The head of the Kremlin signed a similar decree, as shown by state television. Putin says he is confident that the Russian people will support his decision.
At the same time, he concluded a “friendship and assistance” agreement with representatives of the two pro-Russian breakaway republics. This makes it possible for Russian soldiers to be stationed there.
SRF Correspondent Luzia Cherki rated
According to SRF correspondent Luzia Cherky, Russia’s recognition of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states will have serious consequences. The biggest three would be:
- The deteriorating security situation in Ukraine. Because Russia’s recognition of these areas will mean that the Russian state can send Russian forces disguised as so-called peacekeepers to these areas. This would greatly aggravate the situation in Ukraine.
- The second consequence of this recognition will, of course, be the end of the Minsk Agreement. This agreement is the only document in existence that shows a way out of this conflict and it has also been signed by all parties. Thus, Russia sends this document Bashab. It does not appear that any talks will point to a diplomatic way out in the future.
- The third result will be sanctions from the West against Russia. These should really be “light penalties” given the fact that they would be a kind of “light of the invasion” by Russia. However, this recognition will result in penalties.
Pro-Russian separatist leaders in the two regions had previously asked Putin to help fight Ukrainian government forces. Like the Russian parliament, they called on Putin to recognize their independence. In a special session, the Russian Security Council supported the proposals by a large majority.
Then the European Union announced sanctions against Russia. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel said punitive measures must be taken by those involved. What exactly penalties will be imposed initially remains open.
The US government will also respond to Russia’s decision to impose sanctions. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said US President Joe Biden will issue a similar order soon. These measures are intended to prohibit new investments, trade and financing by US persons in Donetsk and Luhansk.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the move as a clear violation of international law and spoke of a “shameful violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and integrity”. According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the government in Moscow is intensifying the conflict with Ukraine. Russia is trying to make a pretext to invade Ukraine again.
Simplified explanation: what is the “Minsk Agreement”
In the Ukrainian conflict, there is often talk of the second “Minsk Agreement”, which Vladimir Putin would like to see implemented. The agreement negotiated in February 2015 by François Hollande (left), Angela Merkel (Democrat), Petro Poroshenko (Ukraine), and Vladimir Putin (Russia) provides for a very high level of independence from the government in Kiev for regions in eastern Ukraine. It is generally seen as beneficial to Russia and unfavorable to Ukraine. Since the signing, there has been disagreement about concrete implementation.
The 13 points of the agreement include:
- Withdrawal of troops and heavy weapons from the disputed areas
- The special status of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions
- enshrined in the Ukrainian Constitution
- Regional elections in Russia-backed regions
documentation: Minsk Agreement of February 12, 2015 (bpd.de)
The battles continue
The ceasefire in eastern Ukraine is no longer in place due to hundreds of violations. Government forces and pro-Russian separatists are shooting at each other. The separatists spoke of intense shelling, deaths and injuries, and cuts in electricity and water. Russia claimed the fall of shells on its territory.
According to Western information, Russia has collected about 150 thousand soldiers on the border with neighboring Ukraine. Moscow is contradicting the West’s fears for weeks that an invasion of Ukraine may be imminent.
Ukraine demands new sanctions
Meanwhile, Ukraine called on the European Union to immediately impose new sanctions on Russia. On the sidelines of consultations with the foreign ministers of EU countries in Brussels, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Kiev expects not only political messages, but concrete actions. There are good and legitimate reasons for at least some sanctions. At first, however, there was only clear support for this from the Baltic states.
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