Tensions in Eastern Europe reached new heights on Monday, as Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the public on state-run television to reveal some of his next steps.
Here are the top five things you need to know about Monday’s developments:
- Putin ordered troops to go into the Donetsk and Luhansk, which are separatist regions in Ukraine that support the Russian government, according to the Moscow Times.
- Before decreeing a military operation to “maintain peace,” Putin recognized the two regions as independent states and essentially gave himself permission to start an invasion.The Ukrainian government considers the leadership of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic terrorists. These so-called states have been around since 2014, but have not been considered legitimate by any established nation until today.
- Putin articulated his train of thought in a bizarre speech in which he said that “modern Ukraine was completed created by Russia” and expressed his anger about the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Putin: “Ukraine is not just a neighbor, a neighboring country to us. It is an inherent part of our own history, culture, spiritual space. They are our comrades, relatives, not only colleagues…We are talking about facts…The modern Ukraine was completely created by Russia.” pic.twitter.com/ETGJwNTuSY
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) February 21, 2022
- The Biden administration has responded to the actions of Russia by placing sanctions on Donetsk and Luhansk. “President Biden will soon issue an Executive Order that will prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by U.S. persons to, from, or in the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine. This E.O. will also provide authority to impose sanctions on any person determined to operate in those areas of Ukraine,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. “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.”
- The United Nations Security Council is meeting Monday night to discuss the situation, even though Russia is the president of the council, the Associated Press reported.
Ukraine has requested an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council due to Russia’s illegal actions. We have already sent the request to the Council.
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) February 21, 2022
JUST IN: Emergency UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine crisis will start in about 20 minutes and will be chaired by Russia, which currently holds the presidency of the Council.
— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) February 22, 2022
There will likely be more military developments overnight, but it is clear that the United States is taking a minimal amount of action against Russia for now, and Ukraine is trying to taking every route possible to prevent a full-blown takeover.