This Monday the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, made three fundamental decisions: he recognized the independence of the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk; he signed a military cooperation treaty with them and ordered his defense ministry to send troops for “peacekeeping” in Donbas.
Forty-eight hours later, the leaders of both republics have written to the Kremlin demanding help “to repel the aggression of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and thus avoid civilian casualties and prevent a human catastrophe” in Donbas. And all this on the same day that the first sanctions packages approved by the European Union, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom against Russia for having recognized the independence of the separatist republics of Donetsk and Lugansk are coming into force.
For the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, the decision is “a dangerous step that threatens the lives of thousands of people.”
Ukraine, for its part, has requested an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss “the escalation” involved in the request to the Kremlin of Donetsk and Lugansk.
In the last few hours, the Russian authorities have been insisting that Donbas was being bombed by Ukrainian troops, which Ukraine, the EU, NATO and the US, on the other hand, deny. Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, at the UN General Assembly meeting on Ukraine said Tuesday night: “We did everything to preserve the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. It is precisely the Kiev’s unwillingness to take into account the interests of the entire population has led Ukraine to be at war since 2014 with those citizens who do not agree with the Maidan values and the current policy of the Ukrainian authorities.”
Nebenzya has also reproached the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, who has criticized the entry of Russian troops into Donbas, for “never raising his voice in favor of the need to comply with the pacts that require resolving all problems by agreement between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk”.
Washington, Feb 23 (EFE).- The Pentagon today was convinced that Russia has begun the invasion of Ukraine, in light of the moves it has taken in recent days.
Defense Department spokesman John Kirby told a news conference that Moscow has sent additional soldiers to the Donetsk area in eastern Ukraine and that these troops have not advanced beyond this area. “What we see is that Russian forces have continued to concentrate closer to the border and are in an advanced stage of preparation to act or take action in Ukraine,” he stressed. Kirby indicated that at this time the Pentagon believes that the Russian armed forces “are ready” to carry out an attack on Ukrainian territory at any time.
The Pentagon has announced the deployment of 800 more US troops to the Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank. The 800 troops are part of an infantry battalion that is currently in Italy, and that will be deployed in the Baltic region.
In addition, the US will transfer 20 AH-64 combat helicopters from Germany to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In parallel, the Pentagon will send eight F-35 fighter-bombers to “several locations” on NATO’s eastern flank, which are in Germany; and has given the green light for the transfer of twelve AH-64 helicopters from Greece to Poland.
These troop and equipment movements are in addition to the more than 90,000 soldiers that the US has deployed in Europe under rotating and permanent mandates.
Violations of the ceasefire continued on Tuesday in eastern Ukraine, a day after Russia recognized the independence of the Lugansk and Donetsk regions, where pro-Russian separatists have been fighting the central government since 2014, according to the OSCE and has collected Eph.
In the two provinces, 1,710 violations of the ceasefire in force for seven years were recorded on Tuesday, but which has never been fully complied with, including 1,420 explosions. In the previous day, 1,927 violations of the ceasefire and 1,481 explosions were registered. These figures represent a stabilization of the number of documented incidents after several days in which the OSCE reported a progressive increase in violence, but they are still above the average of the last week and are almost four times higher than the average of what what’s up this year
State of emergency in Ukraine
Meanwhile, the Verkhovna Rada or Parliament of Ukraine has approved the implementation of the state of emergency decreed by the president, Volodymyr Zelensky, given the worsening of the situation in the east of the country and the Russian military threat, reports Efe.
The extraordinary measure, applicable throughout the country, except in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, was adopted with the votes of 335 deputies out of 339 present. Zelensky’s decree establishes that the state of emergency will come into effect from midnight on February 24 for a period of 30 days in 22 regions of Ukraine (all except Donetsk and Lugansk) and its capital Kiev.
The heads of the Kiev regional administrations must create operational cabinets for the coordination of actions for the implementation of the state of emergency and guarantee its legal regime.
The state of exception establishes the prohibition of mass meetings and strikes, the change of domicile of soldiers and reservists, the operation of amateur radio equipment, as well as the preparation of informative materials that could destabilize the situation in the country.
In addition, it includes the evacuation of the inhabitants of dangerous places, the control of citizens’ documentation, the regulation of civilian radio and television stations and the possibility of proposing the prohibition of the activities of political parties and social organizations in the interest of the national security and public order.