After recognizing the independence of the pro-Russian separatist regions of eastern Ukraine, Vladimir Putin on Monday (February 21st) ordered the Russian army to ” maintain peace “ in these territories. The two decrees of the Russian President ask the Ministry of Defense that “the armed forces of Russia (assume) peacekeeping functions on the territory” from “people’s republics” from Donetsk and Lugansk.
In a long televised address, in which he revealed moments of anger, Vladimir Putin urged Ukraine to immediately stop “his military operations” against the separatists, at the risk of assuming “responsibility for continued bloodshed”. Russia has some 150,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders according to the West, raising fears of a major invasion.
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Two mutual aid agreements between Moscow and the secessionists, lasting ten years, must be ratified by the Russian Parliament on Tuesday. They plan to deploy “Russian military units necessary to maintain peace in the region and to ensure lasting security for the parties”.
“The borders of Ukraine will not change”
Emmanuel Macron has ” sentenced “ this decision by Vladimir Putin, whom he tried in vain to convince of the merits of the diplomatic route. The Head of State also calls for the adoption of “targeted European sanctions”. The French presidency, which points to the “ideological drift” and the “paranoid speech” of Vladimir Putin, does not rule out new “military facts” Russians.
For its part, the UN and a majority of members of the Security Council condemned Monday evening during an emergency meeting the recognition by Russia of the independence of the secessionist republics in eastern Ukraine and the order of President Vladimir Putin to deploy troops there, Moscow ensuring to remain “open to diplomacy”. “Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders will remain unchanged regardless of Russia’s statements and actions”said the Ukrainian ambassador to the UN, Sergiy Kyslytsya.
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In the latest developments, Russia assured this Tuesday, February 22, to be always “ready” negotiations with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is due to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Thursday, after Moscow’s recognition of the pro-Russian Ukrainian separatist regions. “Even in the most difficult moments… we say: we are ready for the process of negotiations, that’s why our position has remained the same (…). We are always for the use of diplomacy”Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in comments posted on Youtube.