Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday recognized the independence of two Russian-backed regions – Luhansk and Donetsk, in a new twist to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
Following the recognition of the regions’ independence, Putin ordered the Russian Ministry of Defense to provide “peacekeeping functions” to the breakaway regions.
The two regions backed by Russia, have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a late night speech on Monday said that Ukraine wanted peace but “we are not afraid” and “will not give anything away to anyone.” He added that Ukraine needs “clear and effective actions of support” from its international partners.
Last week, the Biden administration warned that recognizing the self-declared “People’s Republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region, would violate international law and Ukraine’s sovereignty, and would “necessitate a swift and firm response” from America and its allies.
Following Russia’s recognition of the regions, President Joe Biden signed an executive order prohibiting new investment, trade and financing by Americans in the regions.
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In a statement, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said “To be clear: these measures are separate from and would be in addition to the swift and severe economic measures we have been preparing in coordination with Allies and partners should Russia further invade Ukraine,
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the move “further undermines Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and “erodes efforts towards a resolution of the conflict.”
“Allies urge Russia, in the strongest possible terms, to choose the path of diplomacy,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.
Ifunanya Ikueze is an Engineer, Safety Professional, Writer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator.
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