All eyes have been on Russia and Ukraine this week as the conflict over two separatist regions in Ukraine, Donestk and Luhansk, continues to escalate. US intelligence estimates that as many as 190,000 Russian soldiers are now placed on the Russian border as diplomatic talks continue to attempt to dissuade Putin from invading.
Just minutes ago, President Putin made a shocking announcement that will serve as another escalation in the conflict. The President told French President Emmanuel macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that he plans to recognize the separatist regions of Donestk and Luhansk in a phone call. ABC News Reports–
“Shortly before he was set to speak to the Russian people, Russian President Vladimir Putin informed French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz via phone that he intends to sign a decree recognizing the two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin said in a statement to Russian media.
The Kremlin said Putin informed them about the “outcomes” of his security council meeting and noted that the separatist “republic” had sent appeals asking for recognition due to unverified reports of “military aggression by the Ukrainian government, with massive shelling of the territory of Donbas, as a result of which the civilian population is suffering.”
With Russia recognizing the two regions, the regions will be able to request military assistance from Russia which may serve as a pretext for a Russian invasion. Ukraine, who will likely refuse to regions claims of independence, would interpret Russian troops entering the territory as an invasion.
Joseph Fontelles, a High Representative at the European Union has already said that if Russia recognizes the independence of the two separatist regions, sanctions will be on the table. Sanctions would certainly be applied if Russian troops enter the regions.