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Ukraine Crisis Update: Putin Gives Fiery Speech, Sends Troops Into Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Putin.

In a cinematic fashion akin to a Netflix series, Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the independence of two separatist territories in Eastern Ukraine and threatened Ukraine with further action.

Russian troops have already begun moving into the disputed territories, which first broke away from Kyiv during the 2014 upheavals. Ever since a low-intensity conflict between the Ukrainian military and the Russian-backed separatist has plagued the region and killed thousands.

Straight Out of Netflix 

On Monday, Russians and the world were witnesses to a bizarre show. Putin held a televised meeting with his national security council, which included the Russian prime minister, Russian foreign minister, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, head of the SVR foreign intelligence agency, and chief of the FSB internal security agency, among other advisors.

During the meeting, each advisor stood up and went to a podium to give his or her opinion on the situation in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Putin, sitting apart, grilled them with questions and acerbic observations. It was a fine show intentionally designed to give the Kremlin and its imminent actions a veil of legitimacy.

Soon after the meeting ended, Putin went on television and, in a fiery speech, recognized the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR). Russian troops and tanks moved into the two breakaway territories under the pretext of a peacekeeping mission soon thereafter.

U.S. officials say that Moscow has amassed between 170,000 and 190,000 troops on borders with Ukraine. The recognition of the DPR and LPR broke the state of impasse that has characterized the crisis so far and might trigger a full-blown invasion and war.

The U.S. Response 

The U.S. thus far has responded by imposing sanctions on the two separatist territories. The White House warned that further military action by Moscow would trigger mass sanctions on Russia.

“Today, President Biden signed an Executive Order (E.O.) to respond to President Putin’s action to purportedly recognize the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR) as “independent” states. President Putin’s action contradicts Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements, refutes Russia’s claimed commitment to diplomacy, and undermines Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. This E.O. is distinct from the swift and severe economic measures we are prepared to issue with Allies and partners in response to a further Russian invasion of Ukraine. We are continuing to closely consult with Ukraine and with Allies and partners on next steps and urge Russia to immediately deescalate,” the White House announced.

The European Union and NATO have echoed the U.S. stance.

“The recognition of the two separatist territories in Ukraine is a blatant violation of international law, the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and the Minsk agreements. The EU and its partners will react with unity, firmness and with determination in solidarity with Ukraine,” the President of the E.U. Commission Ursula von der Leyen said.

On Monday morning, President Joe Biden held a session of the national security council, which included Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and General Mark Milley, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.