Putin officially recognizes 2 Russian-backed separatist regions in Ukraine

Putin officially recognizes 2 Russian-backed separatist regions in Ukraine
FILE PHOTO: People walk towards a monument to the Liberators of Donbass in the rebel-held city of Donetsk, Ukraine January 27, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko/File Photo

The backstory:

  • Russia invaded and annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine (a former Soviet state) back in 2014, which caused it to be kicked out of the international military alliance, The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  • Today, there are an estimated 100,000 troops at the Russian-Ukrainian border, worrying people that Russia is looking to invade again, eight years after the first invasion.
  • Russia denies it intends to invade and says that the troops have been positioned there for self-defense. Meanwhile, they’ve sent some demands to the West, including banning Ukraine from ever entering NATO.
  • The United States responded by writing to Russia, saying that they wouldn’t ban Ukraine but would find ways to work with Russia where appropriate.
  • While NATO members have been pursuing diplomacy and trying to coordinate responses between themselves and Ukraine, the countries have also been warning of a potential invasion any day.

The development:

  • In a televised address on Monday, Russian President Putin recognized two Russian-backed separatist regions in Ukraine and then ordered the Russian army into the area to “keep the peace.”
  • Putin described the country as an essential part of Russia’s history and added that he was confident that the Russian public would support his decision.
  • While the military scale isn’t known, it has led to an immediate response from the West. For example, on Monday, the US will prohibit investment, trade and financing to separatist regions of Ukraine.
  • And, according to multiple diplomats familiar with the matter, European Union ambassadors will also meet on Tuesday to discuss a plan for sanctions.

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