In the wake of allegations that Russian forces are moving closer to Ukraine’s borders, President Vladimir Putin has stated that Russia’s interests and security are non-negotiable.
Hours after US President Joe Biden warned of “the beginning of a Russian invasion,” Mr Putin delivered a video speech.
Mr Putin stated that Russia was always “open to frank and honest communication,” but that he had complete faith in the military.
The West has issued a slew of penalties aimed at Russian businesses.
After Russia’s upper house of parliament authorized the president to send soldiers into two districts of eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed rebels, Mr Biden said, “We’ve shut off Russia’s government from Western money.”
On Monday night, Mr Putin said that Russia had recognized the independence of the so-called people’s republics of Luhansk and Donetsk, thereby breaking the ceasefire agreement with Ukraine.
Ukraine’s foreign ministry has encouraged all nationals to leave Russia, saying that “escalating Russia aggression against Ukraine” may limit consular aid. The military in Kyiv also declared that all reservists between the ages of 18 and 60, both officers and privates, would be called up for a maximum of a year.
The possibility of conflict in Ukraine has brought Pope Francis “much grief in my heart,” he remarked.
The West laughed at President Putin’s promise that the military would go to “keep peace.” UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed worry over “the distortion of the notion of peacekeeping” after dismissing his bogus accusation of genocide in eastern Ukraine.
“To put it simply,” Mr. Biden added, “Russia just proclaimed that it is carving off a large portion of Ukraine.”
Despite Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s assertion that he was still open to dialogue, France’s foreign minister and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken both canceled talks with him.
It’s unclear whether Russian forces have crossed the border into Ukraine yet. However, satellite data from the United States has revealed multiple additional military and equipment deployments in western Russia, as well as over 100 vehicles at a Belarusian airport near the Ukrainian border.
Mr. Biden said he was unveiling an initial set of sanctions aimed at high-ranking Russian “elites” and the country’s foreign debt in order to prevent Russia from borrowing money from Western banks.
The exclusion of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova, was a mistake. “Vladimir Putin should be top on the list,” she said in an interview with the Czech newspaper Hospodarske Noviny.
Russian threats against Ukraine will be met with “every lever at our disposal,” according to British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. In response to accusations that the UK government had not gone far enough, Ms Truss wrote in The Times that the G7 partners had agreed on additional measures and that “nothing is off the table.”
Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has stated that due to the issue, he may consider severing diplomatic ties with Russia.
Since conflict erupted in eastern Ukraine in 2014, Russian-backed separatists have taken vast swaths of land. Since then, an estimated 14,000 people have perished, many of them civilians.
Last week, rebel officials urged for the evacuation of women, children, and the elderly to Russia, based on rumors of an impending Ukrainian invasion. Officials in Moscow reported on Wednesday that 96,000 people have come from separatist-controlled parts of Ukraine so far.