On Monday, tensions between Russia and Ukraine reached new heights. Now, Vladimir Putin is making moves that many see as laying the basis for a direct invasion of Ukraine.
The Biden administration and its allies have been pursuing a diplomatic detour for weeks in order to avert a Russian attack that may spark a European war.
However, on Monday, Putin signed decrees, declaring the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic (two parts of Ukraine’s Donbas where Russian-backed rebels have been battling Ukrainian forces for years) as autonomous.
Within hours, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered military actions in those areas. Experts fear doing so might signal the start of full-scale Russian military activities on Ukrainian territory, setting the ground for a new invasion.
This is the second time that Putin has invaded Ukraine under the “leadership” of Joe Biden
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) February 22, 2022
That Situation is Worsening
In an interview with The Hill, Rose Gottemoeller, former Assistant Secretary-General of NATO, described the situation as “a growing crescendo.”
In an hour-long speech building up to the proclamation of the two areas as autonomous, Putin engaged in what Western observers saw as a historical rewriting.
This cast doubt on Ukraine’s independence and painted the country as traditionally and culturally Russian. He stated Ukraine was being manipulated by the West and targeted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government.
A top Biden White House official told journalists on Monday it was a message to the Russians to justify the war. “We’ll try negotiation until the tanks arrive, but we’re not fooling ourselves about what’s going to happen next,” the official continued.
Regardless of what Russia claims, the harsh truth is they’re currently attempting to fabricate a case for military intervention. Carpenter said this in a statement to the OSCE in Vienna.
Shortly after Putin’s words, Biden would go on to sign an executive order prohibiting US investments, trade, and money from going into Donetsk and Luhansk areas, as well as authorizing him to apply penalties on persons active in the territories.
More sanctions are anticipated to be announced on Tuesday, according to a senior administration official, who did not provide any details.
The European Union also stated sanctions will be imposed in response to Putin’s decision.
Putin expanded under Obama and Biden, NOT Trump.
— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) February 22, 2022
The White House has promised for weeks if Russia launches another military invasion of Ukraine, it will face harsh economic sanctions; pressure to do this will surely increase, following Monday’s events.
The senior official would not directly respond to queries of what would constitute a fresh Russian invasion of Ukraine, instead indicating the US will review Russia’s actions in the coming hours and days and respond accordingly.
“We’ll watch and evaluate what Russia does in the coming hours and overnight,” according to the official. “We will respond to any steps taken by Russia in a manner that we think is appropriate for the situation.”