nAfter Vladimir Putin announced his recognition of eastern Ukraine’s “people’s republics” of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent states, the White House responded with lightning speed on Monday. “We have anticipated such a move by the Russians and are ready to respond immediately,” Joe Biden’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. The president imposed sanctions by decree. They target anyone who does business or trades in or with the two breakaway regions. Details were revealed shortly afterwards. Psaki said more measures would follow — “in addition to the quick and aggressive economic measures” that were set up with allies in the event of another Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Putin’s first level of escalation was soon followed by a second level: the announcement of sending Russian troops into the separatist regions of eastern Ukraine – allegedly to “secure peace” there. Has Putin really crossed the American red line? The “people’s republics” have long been under the control of Moscow, but they are Ukrainian lands. So is this the dreaded invasion, is this a moment for the United States and its allies to impose the severe sanctions that have been announced? Biden, who tweeted about “blatant violations of international law” by Russia, made no further comments Monday night. He was only said to have spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, French President Emmanuel Macron and Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz over the phone.
Eyewitnesses reported queues of military vehicles
When Schulze traveled to Biden in early February, a reporter asked the two men at their subsequent press conference if they had defined how they defined “invasion.” At that time, the US president replied: If “troops and tanks cross the Ukrainian border again”, it will be an invasion. At least the soldiers should do it soon. On Tuesday evening, a journalist from Reuters reported that there were columns of military vehicles on the outskirts of the city of Donetsk, including tanks.
But the US government has so far refused to describe the recent events as a Russian invasion of Ukraine. The US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas Greenfield, was the clearest of the night. Speaking at the recently scheduled emergency UN Security Council meeting in New York, she said of Putin’s latest move that it was “clearly the basis for Russia’s attempt to find a pretext for another invasion of Ukraine”. Moscow talks about “peacekeepers”, but this is “complete nonsense” – “we know what they really are.” Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Selig Nebinja, denied these and other statements in a similar tone, describing them as “emotional statements”.
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