Ukraine latest: Russia faces sanctions after Putin orders in troops

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  • Russia has recognised and ordered troops into the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk
  • The EU is set to impose fresh sanctions on Russia
  • An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council has condemned the ‘violation’ of international law 

This article was last updated at 09:16 UTC

UK holds emergency meeting, Johnson says Putin ‘gravely miscalculated’

The UK held a national emergency security committee meeting early on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Putin will have “gravely miscalculated” if Russia opts for the full-scale invasion of Ukraine it seems prepared to launch and the UK will impose sanctions immediately.

After the meeting, Johnson told reporters, “I think that the tragedy of the present situation is that President Putin has surrounded himself with like-minded advisors who tell him that Ukraine is not a proper country.”

Johnson said UK sanctions are “targeted not just at entities in Donbass and Luhansk and Donetsk, but in Russia itself — targeting Russian economic interests as hard as we can.”

Parliaments of occupied eastern Ukraine ratify Russian friendship treaty

The parliaments in the Russian-backed separatist regions of eastern Ukraine ratified the treaties of Russian friendship the Russian Duma rubber stamped through, Russia’s RBC reported. 

Several senior Russian legislators suggested Russia might opt to recognize the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in their original administrative borders, including the lands controlled by Ukraine currently.

West prepares sanctions against Putin

The US and European allies are set to announce new sanctions against Russia on Tuesday over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognize the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DPR) and the “Luhansk People’s Republic” (LPR) in eastern Ukraine as “independent.”

The ambassadors of EU members states will also meet Tuesday in Brussels to discuss possible sanctions. The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said sanctions would be imposed in the afternoon.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on Western nations “to impose tough sanctions against the Russian Federation,” in a statement issued while he is in Washington.

On Monday, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order prohibiting business with the DPR and LPR.

Putin order troops into eastern Ukraine

Putin signed a decree ordering Russian troops into eastern Ukraine in a televised speech to the nation Monday evening. Putin said Russian troops were being sent in to “maintain peace” in eastern Ukraine.

Earlier Monday, he recognized the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DPR) and the “Luhansk People’s Republic” (LPR) in eastern Ukraine as “independent.”

While the Russian-backed separatists claim the entirety of the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, they only have control over a part of the territory they claim.

It was unclear whether Russian troops would be sent only to the parts of Donetsk and Luhansk already occupied by the proxy forces they have denied supporting or areas that are still controlled by Ukraine.

UN Security Council convenes an emergency meeting over the crisis

The UN Security Council convened an emergency meeting late Monday where it condemned Russia for “violating international law.”

The US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield attacked Russian claims that its troops were being deployed to eastern Ukraine on a “peacekeeping” mission as “nonsense.”

“He calls them peacekeepers. This is nonsense. We know what they really are,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

She added, “The consequences of Russia’s actions will be dire, across Ukraine, Europe and the globe.”

Ukraine’s UN representative Sergiy Kyslytsya demanded Russia withdraw its decision to recognize the two breakaway republics. 

Kyslytsya said, “We are on our land and we are not afraid of anything or anyone.”

By contrast, Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, said Moscow was still “open to diplomacy,” and claimed that Russia did not intend to allow “a new bloodbath in Donbas.”

How did we get here? A century of Ukraine-Russia relations in brief

In brief, Ukraine, the largest country on the European continent, had a short-lived independent state following World War I. It was absorbed by the Soviet Union, which forced the terror of a famine on the country in the 1930s under Stalin known as the Holodomyr. Ukraine was an occupied Soviet republic right up until the fall of the Soviet Union.

On August 24, 1991, it officially declared its independence. Russia recognized Ukraine’s borders in a number of international agreements, including the Budapest Memorandum of 1994. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine politically began looking westwards and started talking with both the European Union and NATO.

In 2004, the first of two significant revolutions on Maidan Square took place, known as the “Orange revolution.” That year, voters elected the pro-Western candidate Viktor Yushchenko, who had been poisoned leaving scars on his face, over the Russian-backed Viktor Yanukovych. He took office in January 2005 and  remained in office until 2010, when Yanukovych returned to power.

In 2013, Yanukovych, stopped the signing of an association agreement with the EU he had said he supported earlier. Protests ensued and the second Maidan revolution, Ukraine’s Revolution for Dignity as it has become known, culminated in his security forces firing on demonstrators gathered on Maidan. Yanukovych fled to Rostov-on-Don in Russia by helicopter the next day taking with him briefcases of cash and documents but leaving the ostriches in his zoo behind.

In the spring of 2014, Russia then seized and annexed the Crimean peninsula by using “little green men” as Russian special forces Spetsnaz soldiers with their insignias covered became known. In a victory for the Kremlin’s hybrid warfare techniques, the annexation of Crimea took place without bloodshed, unlike the bloody battles and heavy losses in the eastern part of the country that have been ongoing since 2014.

In eastern Ukraine, Russian-backed separatists are fighting for what they have called “people’s republics ” in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and more than 13,000 people have been killed so far, according to the UN.  An additional 1.4 million Ukrainians have been internally displaced by the conflict.

ar/rt (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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