Russian President Vladimir Putin
Biden ‘Convinced’ Putin Has Made Decision On Russian Invasion Of Ukraine Photo by Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered troops to enter parts of eastern Ukraine that are held by separatists. The Kremlin called the move a "peacekeeping" mission.

It is not clear if Russian soldiers' movement marked the beginning of an invasion of Ukraine that leaders in the West have been warning about, reported CNN. But several Western and US officials warned the move made Monday could serve as the opening salvo of a bigger military operation targeting Ukraine.

During a speech Monday night, Putin slammed Ukraine's growing security ties with the West. He also talked about the history of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the formation of the USSR. He seemed to have doubts about Ukraine's right to self-determination. Calling the eastern part of Ukraine "ancient Russian lands," he said that the country has "never had traditions of its own statehood."

Putin signed decrees that conveyed Moscow's official recognition over the Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic (DPR and LPR). These are two breakaway territories in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region. The decrees recognized the territories as independent states and security was guaranteed with Russian soldiers. According to the decrees, Russian peacekeeping forces would be deployed in the areas.

Putin's speech was meant to "justify war" to the Russian people, said a senior US administration official. The official added that it amounted to "an attack on the very idea of a sovereign and independent Ukraine" using "a number of false claims" meant to justify military operation. For long, separatists in eastern Ukraine reportedly have had substantial backing from the Kremlin.

Early Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the nation saying that Russia's actions violate the country's "national integrity and sovereignty" and Ukraine's international borders will "remain as such." He said, "We are on our land, and we are not afraid of anything and anyone." According to him, Ukrainians "don't owe anything to anyone, and we will not give away anything to anyone."

He also shared that Ukraine had initiated an emergency meeting with the Normandy Four, which includes France, Germany and Russia as well. At the request of Ukraine, the US and other countries, the United Nations Security Council set a rare nighttime emergency meeting Monday, reported the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, the White House issued an executive order so that US investment and trade in the separatist regions of Ukraine is prohibited.

People walk on a pier in Ukrainian Black Sea city of Odessa
People walk on a pier in Ukrainian Black Sea city of Odessa on February 21, 2022. - NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on February 21, 2022, condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin's recognition of rebel-held areas in east Ukraine, saying it violated international agreements Moscow had signed. Photo by Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP via Getty Images

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.