After months of military build-up and brinkmanship, US President Joe Biden on Tuesday described Russia’s moves in Ukraine as “the beginning of a Russian invasion”.
Here’s what you need to know:
What did Russia do? On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the troops to Donetsk and Luhansk – two pro-Moscow separatist regions in eastern Ukraine – in what the Kremlin called a “peacekeeping” mission. This step came just hours after he signed decrees recognizing the independence of the regions.
Several US and Western officials have warned that this could mark the beginning of a larger military operation targeting Ukraine. More than 150,000 Russian soldiers now Encirclement of Ukraine From three sides, US and Ukrainian intelligence officials estimated.
How is Ukraine responding? Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, on Tuesday, that he is still practicing diplomacy as a way out of the crisis. He said reservists would be called up for military training, but there would be no general mobilization of the armed forces.
“We desire peace and quiet, but if we remain calm today, we will disappear tomorrow,” Zelensky said.
How did the world react? Russia’s actions were strongly condemned by many countries, with Western leaders imposing new sanctions on Tuesday and cutting a major pipeline with Russia.
Biden announced that the United States would impose sanctions on Russian financial institutions and the ruling minority. The European Union also imposed sanctions on 351 Russian lawmakers who voted to recognize the breakaway regions, and the United Kingdom announced sanctions on five Russian banks and three Russian oligarchs.
Also on Tuesday, Germany said it had stopped approving $11 billion 750 mile pipeline Which connects Russia directly with Germany. The Nord Stream 2 The project was completed in September but has yet to receive the final green light from German regulators. Without it, natural gas could not flow through the Baltic Sea pipeline from Russia to Germany.
Japan and Australia on Wednesday joined the list of countries imposing sanctions on Russia, Donetsk and Luhansk.
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