Ukraine says ‘we are not afraid’ after Russia recognises rebel-backed regions

Kyiv: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday warned that his country is “not afraid” and “will not concede anything to anyone” after Russia recognized the rebel-backed territories in its eastern part and ordered troops for peacekeeping there.

Zelensky, in his address to the nation early morning, said that Russia’s actions are a ”violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

He added that Russia is merely legalizing the Russian forces that have been in the Donbas since 2014 when Russia invaded and later annexed Crimea. Russia has denied having any military presence in the country, according to The Kyiv Independent.

The ongoing crisis deepened after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent and ordered the Russian army to launch what Moscow called a peacekeeping operation into the area.

Putin, who was joined by Russia-backed separatist leaders, signed a decree recognising the independence of the two Ukrainian breakaway regions — the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic – along with agreements on cooperation and friendship.

In a lengthy televised address, Putin described Ukraine as an integral part of Russia’s history and said eastern Ukraine was ancient Russian land. Putin also said that he was confident that the Russian people would support his decision.

In response, US President Joe Biden on Monday (local time) signed an Executive Order that will prohibit all new investment, trade, and financing by US persons to, from, or in the “so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People`s Republics.

“Taking to Twitter, Biden said, “I have signed an Executive Order to deny Russia the chance to profit from its blatant violations of international law. We are continuing to closely consult with Allies and partners, including Ukraine, on the next steps.”

The Prohibition order was signed by Biden saying that, “Russia`s commitments under the Minsk agreements further threatens the peace, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and thereby constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

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Ukrainian forces have been battling the Kremlin separatists in eastern Ukraine for eight years. When Putin spoke Monday, he demanded an immediate cessation of hostilities, warning that “all responsibility for the possible continuation of bloodshed will be completely and entirely on their conscience.”

The UN Security Council also called an emergency meeting over Ukraine during which the United States and the Council of Europe  denounced the Russian move and called Moscow to withdraw its recognition of Ukraine’s breakaway territories.

Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukrainian Ambassador to UN, said, ”We demand Russia to return to the table for negotiations. We condemn the order to deploy additional Russian occupation troops in the territories of Ukraine. We demand the immediate and complete verifiable withdrawal of occupation troops.”

“Today, the entire membership of the United Nations is under attack. Under attack by the country that occupied the membership of the Security Council in 1991 bypassing the UN charter. The country that occupied parts of Ukraine in 2014,” Sergiy Kyslytsya said at the UNSC meeting.

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