Vladimir Putin, the Russian President and his government have recognized the republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, who have broken away from Ukraine and Putin’s military units officially entered Eastern Ukraine on Monday.
Russian “peacekeepers” were dispatched to the Donbas region. Video footage captured by cell phone allegedly showed Russian military convoys making their way towards Donetsk, equipped with artillery, tanks and armored personnel carriers.
The video also showed several buses in the convoy, containing either Russian troops or returning refugees who left in 2014 after the conflict in that region.
The Kremlin claimed they stopped a Ukrainian military incursion at the border, and Russian TV showed images of destroyed equipment belonging to Ukraine, with Russia claiming they had “neutralized” several “saboteurs.”
Ukraine has denied Russia’s allegations, however. “Not a single one of our soldiers has crossed the border with the Russian Federation, and not a single one has been killed today,” Anton Gerashchenko, an official at Ukraine’s interior ministry, told reporters on Monday.
U.S intelligence has repeatedly said that Russia would stage a false flag attack that would allow them to “retaliate” and invade Ukraine.
After Russian forces moved into the region recognized as part of Ukraine, they mobilized their own military units.
Joe Biden imposed economic sanctions on the Russian government and moved to block all commerce between U.S citizens and those in the breakaway states of Eastern Ukraine. The Pentagon has also said that U.S troops will not have any participation in fighting.
According to RT, Russia had struck a deal with Ukraine to move troops and equipment into those areas.
Russia Today reported:
While Russia has struck a deal that enables it to deploy troops and military hardware on a long-term basis to sites across the Donbass, at present it has no concrete plans to establish installations in the newly recognized Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Moscow has revealed, despite speculation its troops are already there.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko explained what moves his country’s armed forces are considering taking in the region.
“So far, there hasn’t been any talk about setting up bases” he said. “But if necessary, we will do everything that needs to be done. The agreement stipulates that,” he said.
WATCH: RUSSIAN MILITARY OFFICIALLY MOVES INTO UKRAINE
His comments come shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree officially recognizing the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics as sovereign nations. Following the Kremlin’s affirmation of their independence, Putin ordered the Russian armed forces to “secure the peace” in the newly recognized Donbass republics. Within hours, unconfirmed reports and videos emerged purporting to show Russian troops moving across the border.
Under the terms of a friendship and co-operation deal ratified by the parliaments of the two breakaway regions on Tuesday, Moscow can establish military bases on their territory. However, Ukraine and many Western nations accuse Moscow of having sent troops to the region in 2014 and maintaining a military presence there since then. On Tuesday, the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, claimed that deployments of Russian troops had begun crossing the border shortly after the decision to grant them recognition.
The leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, Denis Pushilin and Leonid Pasechnik, formally appealed to Putin to proclaim them sovereign nations amid reports of heavy shelling between the two breakaway regions and Ukraine’s armed forces. Last week, the two regional chiefs announced that they had begun evacuating civilians to Russia, citing a sharp spike in hostilities, and ordered the mobilization of all able-bodied men to be ready to take up arms in a potential conflict.
From The New York Times, “Blitzkrieg or Minor Incursion? Putin’s Choice Could Determine World Reaction.”:
When President Biden declared on Friday he was convinced President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had decided to attack Ukraine “in the coming week, in the coming days,” the skeptics among American allies suddenly fell quiet. Hours before, Mr. Biden had informed them that American intelligence agencies had just learned that the Kremlin had given the order for Russian military units to proceed with an invasion.
Now the debate has shifted to how Mr. Putin will do it: in one massive nationwide attack; a series of bites that dismantle the country, piece by piece; or a cobralike squeeze. That last option is made all the easier with the news Sunday morning that Belarus is allowing Russian troops to remain indefinitely, where they can menace Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. Mr. Putin might be betting that he can shatter Ukraine’s economy and oust its government without having to immediately roll in tanks.
Mr. Putin’s strategic choices over the next few weeks may make a huge difference in how the world reacts.
If he strikes to take the whole country in a single blow — the approach that senior American military and intelligence officials and many outside analysts now think is the most likely — it could provoke the largest, most violent battle for European territory since the Nazi surrender in 1945.
There is little question that the full package of sanctions and technology export cutoffs would be invoked almost immediately. International condemnation would follow, though Mr. Putin may be betting that it would not last long, and that the world would gradually get accustomed to a new, larger Russia reconstituting the sphere of influence that was once the hallmark of the old Soviet Union.
China weighed in, and in his official comments, Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged calm and a lowering of tensions in the region, calling for “dialogue and negotiations.” Adding, “The legitimate security concerns of any country should be respected,” according to a readout in state-run Global Times.
The senior Chinese diplomat said, “China once again calls on all parties to exercise restraint, recognize the importance of implementing the indivisible security principle, ease the situation and resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation.”
Washington is also planning on targeting Russian individuals and companies, completely banning them from using U.S dollars for international transactions and freezing their foreign assets.
“President Joe Biden’s administration has prepared an initial package of sanctions against Russia that includes barring US financial institutions from processing transactions for major Russian banks,” Reuters reported. The White House, however, has refused to comment.