In an unanimous vote in their government’s upper house, lawmakers in Russia have given President Vladimir Putin permission to use military force outside of Russia’s borders, sparking concerns that a broader attack on Ukraine could be imminent.
“The vote formalizes a Russian military deployment to the rebel regions, where an eight-year conflict has killed nearly 14,000 people,” The Associated Press reported.
This follows news on Monday that Putin ordered Russian troops into regions of Ukraine on a so-called “peacekeeping” mission.
Putin declared Russia-led breakout areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts as independent, shortly before ordering Russian troops into the areas.
“Putin has ordered Russian troops into Ukraine. The decrees on recognizing the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics order the Russian armed forces to go into separatist territory on peacekeeping missions,” Financial Times’ Moscow Bureau Chief Max Seddon reported.
Putin has ordered Russian troops into Ukraine.
The decrees on recognizing the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics order the Russian armed forces to go into separatist territory on peacekeeping missions. pic.twitter.com/cjKMidlD4Q
— max seddon (@maxseddon) February 21, 2022
“Today, the leadership of the [Donetsk People’s Republic] and [Luhansk People’s Republic] received appeals to recognize their sovereignty in connection with the military aggression of the Ukrainian authorities, massive shelling of the territory of Donbas, as a result of which the civilian population suffers,” the Kremlin said in a statement. “With all this in mind, the President of Russia said that he intended to sign a corresponding decree in the near future.”
In response, the European Union (EU) and the United States announced new sanctions.
“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. We will also soon announce additional measures related to today’s blatant violation of Russia’s international commitments,” 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,” she added.
The EU said: “President Michel and President von der Leyen condemn in the strongest possible terms the decision by the Russian President to proceed with the recognition of the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine as independent entities.”
“This step is a blatant violation of international law as well as of the Minsk agreements,” the EU statement continued. “The Union will react with sanctions against those involved in this illegal act. The Union reiterates its unwavering support to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.”
Tensions continued to rise in the hours that followed. On Tuesday, Ukraine’s defense ministry confirmed that two of its soldiers died following shelling from “Russian occupational forces” in eastern Ukraine.
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
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