The Russia-Ukraine crisis has deepened over the past 24 hours as Russia signed decrees recognizing two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent on Monday.
While ordering the Russian military to launch a “peacekeeping operation” in the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, “I believe it is necessary to take a long-overdue decision, to immediately recognize the independence and sovereignty of (these) regions.”
“From those who seized and hold power in Kyiv, we demand an immediate cessation of hostilities. Otherwise, all responsibility for the possible continuation of the bloodshed will be entirely on the conscience of the regime ruling on the territory of Ukraine,” Putin added. The lower and upper houses of the Russian parliament will vote on the recognition on Tuesday.
In response, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the nation and referred to the move by Russia as a violation of the national integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. “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,” Zelensky said.
With the increasingly tense situation, the Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba of Ukraine requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council of the United Nations. “Ukraine has requested an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council due to Russia’s illegal actions. We have already sent the request to the Council,” Kuleba tweeted.
The move from Moscow led the US government to impose sanctions on Russia. This involves financial sanctions prohibiting new investments in the rebel territories of Donetsk and Luhansk and other such regions of Ukraine.
European leaders have disapproved of Moscow’s move. ‘The EU and its partners will react with unity, firmness and with determination in solidarity with Ukraine’, tweeted European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Zelensky took to Twitter and informed that the latest events are being discussed with Ukraine’s national security advisors and that the ‘Defence Council’ has begun.
Condemning the Russian move, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, “I condemn Russia’s decision to extend recognition to the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ and Luhansk People’s Republic. This further undermines Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, erodes efforts towards a resolution of the conflict, and violates the Minsk Agreements, to which Russia is a party.”
British PM Boris Johnson spoke of Putin’s move as a “dark sign”, as being “plainly in breach of international law” and “a flagrant violation of the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine”.
The spokesperson of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that the move by the Russia will not go unanswered. “All three parties agreed that this unilateral move by Russia is a clear breach of the Minsk Agreement. Germany, France and the US sharply condemned the Russian President’s decision. This move will not go unanswered,” the spokesperson said.