Ukraine-Russia crisis: What you need to know about this escalating crisis

The Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees recognizing the independence of the two separatist regions of eastern Ukraine, and directed his military to "maintain peaceful coexistence" in these disputed areas. This was a major blow to global efforts to stop a Russian invasion in Ukraine.

Ukraine-Russia crisis: What you need to know about this escalating crisis

Putin's actions, which were made while shelling continued in those regions, could indicate that the Kremlin is planning to send troops and weapons to support Russian-backed Separatists. This will only increase already heightened tensions between Russia, the West, and Russia.

According to the White House, President Joe Biden agreed in principle to meet Putin if the Kremlin does not launch an attack on Ukraine. However, Biden and the European Union both stated that they would continue to use targeted sanctions as a response to Putin's decrees, even before any invasion.

According to U.S. officials, Biden will soon issue an executive order that prohibits Americans from doing business or investing in rebel-held regions. This order would allow the U.S. government to impose sanctions against anyone in the region, which could be used to punish key supporters of the breakaway incursion.

Jointly, President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen (Council President Charles Michel) called Russia's recognitions of the disputed territory "a blatant violation international law" and promised economic repercussions.

Biden-Putin would provide some hope for avoiding a Russian invasion. Officials from the United States said it appeared imminent. An estimated 150,000 Russian troops are awaiting Putin's orders to strike. It was not clear when or if the troops gathered at the border would enter Ukraine.

Here are the most recent developments in the security crisis within Eastern Europe.

PUTIN DECREES SEPARATIST REGIONS INDEPENDENCE

Putin raged during a meeting with the Russian Presidential Security Council and claimed that Ukraine had inherited Russia’s historical lands, which were then used by the West to contain Russia after the Soviet collapse.

The volatility was exacerbated by his decision to recognize the autonomy of the separatist areas in eastern Ukraine. Officials from the West fear Russia could invade Ukraine at any time, using eastern Ukraine's skirmishes as a pretext.

This decree allows Russia to sign agreements with rebel territories in eastern Ukraine, and to openly send troops or weapons there.

Putin's decree gave his foreign minister the task of establishing diplomatic relations with separatist regions and offering mutual assistance to rebel leaders in order to "maintain peace” in the two regions.

Monday's Russian Security Council meeting was followed by the decision. It effectively dismantles the 2015 Minsk peace accords, which had been in place since 2015. They ended large-scale fighting. However, violence has continued to simmer -- and has seen an increase in the wider crisis in recent weeks.

An American official stated that recognition of these two regions would be "condemnable."

"If carried out this would again result in a disruption of the rules-based international system, under the threat force," Michael Carpenter, U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe told a special session in Vienna of the organization.

After separatist leaders made televised statements, the meeting of Putin's presidential Security Council was followed by a meeting in which Putin sought to recognise them as independent states. They also asked Putin to sign friendship treaties that would allow them to receive military aid to help them withstand what they called the ongoing Ukrainian military attack. The same appeal was made by Russia's lower house last week.

The Ukrainian authorities denied launching an offensive, and accused Russia of provocation as the shelling intensifies along their line of contact.

WILL PUTIN AND BIDEN MEET?

The U.S. presidents and Russian presidents tentatively agreed to meet in a last-ditch diplomatic attempt to stop Moscow's invasion Ukraine. This is the first time since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

Both seem to be cautious about the possibility of a meeting.

According to the White House, the meeting can only take place if Russia doesn't invade Ukraine. This is despite heavy shelling in eastern Ukraine.

Dmitry Peskov (Kremlin spokesperson) said Monday that it was premature to discuss specific plans for a summit.

In a series phone calls, the French President Emmanuel Macron tried to broker a possible meeting between Biden & Putin. The conversation lasted well into Sunday night. Macron's office stated that both leaders "accepted" the principle of such summit, which would be followed by a larger meeting that included other leaders.

According to the White House, Biden spoke with Macron and Olaf Scholz in a 30-minute conference call on Monday.

According to Macron's office, the U.S. Secretary Of State Antony Blinken was to help lay the foundation for the summit during a meeting on Thursday.

WHAT IS THE SITUATION AT UKRAINE'S EASTERN FORE?

In the Donbas, Ukraine's eastern industrial hub, heavy shelling has been increasing in recent days.

After Russia's annexation, the conflict began. Although the fighting claimed at least 14,000 lives, it was largely peaceful for a while.

Pavlo Kovalchyuk, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian military said that Ukrainian positions had been shelled 80 times on Sunday and eight times Monday morning. He noted that separatists were "cynically" using civilians as shields from residential areas. He also said that no Ukrainian forces were returning fire.

In the village of Novognativka on the government-controlled side, 60-year-old Ekaterina Evseeva, said the shelling was worse than at the height of fighting.

She said, with a trembling voice, "It's worse that 2014," "We are at the brink of nervous breakdowns. There is nowhere to hide."

RUSSIAN TROOPS STAY in BELARUS, ADDING TO FEARS

Russian troops that were conducting military exercises in Belarus (which is on Ukraine's north border) were supposed to return home after the war games concluded Sunday. However, Minsk and Moscow now say that the Russian troops will remain indefinitely.

Concerns were raised about Russia sending troops to attack the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. This city is 3 million people and less than three hours drive from the Belarus border.

UKRAINE PROJECTS CALM

Biden claimed that Putin made the decision to send Russian troops into Ukraine. However, Ukrainian officials tried to project calm and said that they didn't see an imminent invasion.

Oleksii Reznikov, Defense Minister, stated Monday that Russia had amassed 147,000 troops in Ukraine, with 9,000 in Belarus. He claimed that this is not enough to launch an offensive against the capital of Ukraine.

He said that "the talk about an attack against Kyiv from Belarus sounds absurd", and claimed that Russia uses the troops there to create fear.

Many Ukrainians returned home from shopping in or working in neighboring EU countries over the weekend, as many others did at the Polish border. Many said that they weren't afraid and pledged to fight against Russia in the event of an attack.

EU OFFERES UKRAINE ADVISE

Despite all the threats and promises of reprisal made by Western leaders, military intervention has been ruled out.

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's Foreign Minister, said Monday that the European Union had agreed to establish a mission for military education advisory in his country.

After meeting with the bloc's foreign minsters, Kuleba stated to reporters in Brussels that an agreement was reached in principle for the rollout of the advisory training military mission.

He said, "This isn't combat forces." "This is a new element of the cooperation between Ukraine, the European Union."

It could be possible to send European officers to Ukraine's military school to educate its armed forces. It will likely take several months for it to be set up.

Russia sought assurances from NATO that it would not offer Ukraine or other ex-Soviet republics membership, a condition the West rejected.

Gen. Mark A. Milley was the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and spoke Monday with Lt. General Valery Zaluzhny, the commander-in­-chief of Ukraine's armed forces.

According to Pentagon's summary, Milley called Ukraine a crucial partner in NATO.

BRITISH WARNINGS OF THE NEXT GENERATION

Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, stated that he was ready to meet with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President, and offer him support from the United Kingdom.

Ben Wallace, Britain's defense secretary, had earlier urged Putin not to resort to military action but to pursue diplomacy for the sake and safety of Ukrainians as well as to avoid Russian death.

He said that Russia knows the consequences of past actions such as the invasion of Afghanistan or Russia's invasion Chechnya.

He said that these were just two instances of young men returning home in coffins lined with zinc. The government urges President Putin to stop the invasion of Ukraine for their sakes.

Wallace stated to the House of Commons, that Putin was still building up its forces in the area. He stated that Russia now has 65% of its land combat force on the Ukrainian border.

U.K. Foreign Minister Liz Truss stated that the West was prepared "for the worst-case scenario" and added: "We must make Russia's cost intolerable high."


 

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