Overnight, the tension between Russia and Ukraine escalated into what is now being labeled as an “invasion”. The conflict over the two separatist regions in Ukraine, Donestk and Luhansk, escalated after more than 10,000 Russian soldiers invaded.
According to a source linked to the Ukrainian military, 6,000 soldiers were sent to Donetsk, 5,000 to Luhansk, and 1,500 to the city of Horlivka.
Videos were released of tanks, armored troop carriers, and trucks driving through Donetsk early this morning. Although Russia has officially denied sending in any troops, the White House Principal Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer told CNN, “An invasion is an invasion and that is what is underway.”
Finer also elaborated on the White House’s response to these recent developments. “You are already seeing the beginning of our response,” Finer told CNN’s Brianna Keilar. “We’ve said we’ll be swift and severe. Within minutes of President Putin speaking yesterday, we issued an executive order that effectively blocked all economic activity in the two provinces of Ukraine that Russia has now [said] belongs to somebody else.”
"An invasion is an invasion and that is what is under way," says WH Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer as Putin orders troops into Eastern Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/yvRfZJGqBY
— Brianna Keilar (@brikeilarcnn) February 22, 2022
Many in the U.S. have taken issue with Biden’s sanctions that are not directly on Russia or Putin. Rep. Michael McCaul (TX) spoke with Politico, labeling Biden’s sanctions as “impotent”.
“We must immediately impose real costs for this blatant act of aggression and flagrant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Unfortunately, the sanctions previewed by the White House thus far are the definition of impotence.”
However, Finer did promise that more economic sanctions aimed “directly at Russia” would be coming later today.
As Russia’s troops were sent in, fighting escalated in the region. It was reported that shells struck a power plant in Ukraine after explosions killed two and wounded 12.
One photojournalist for the Donetsk News Agency reported being fired at from tripod-mounted grenade launchers. “We hid in old trenches, they were flooded with water, but we are alive,” the photojournalist told TASS Russian News Agency. “I was there together with US journalist Patrick Lancaster, freelancer Nadezhda Chicherova, and photo correspondent Alexander Gayuk.”
Putin has vowed there will be “bloodshed” if Ukraine’s troops try to resist. However, the Ukraine UN Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya said, “The internationally recognized borders. of Ukraine have been and will remain unchangeable regardless of any statements and actions by the Russian Federation.”
“We are committed to a peaceful and diplomatic path and we will stay firmly on it,” added Kyslysta. “We are on our land. We are not afraid of anything or anyone. We owe nothing to anyone, and we will not give away anything to anyone.”