The Russian army is ordered to go to the separatist territories of Ukraine

Even if Vladimir Putin says he is acting to maintain “peace”, the search for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine has fizzled. The Russian president on Monday ordered his army to enter the separatist territories in eastern Ukraine after recognizing their independence.

Two decrees of the Russian president, signed after a televised address, recognize the “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Lugansk and ask the Ministry of Defense that “the armed forces of Russia (assume) peacekeeping functions there”. Of this military deployment, neither timetable nor information on its possible scale were specified in these documents.

Paris denounces a “paranoid discourse”

In a long televised address, in which he revealed moments of anger, Putin urged Ukraine to immediately cease “its military operations” against the separatists, at the risk of assuming “responsibility for the continuation of the bloodshed “. In his long speech, the Russian president also reiterated his unfounded accusations of “genocide” against Russians and Russian speakers in Ukraine. In a professorial tone, he gave a history lesson revisited by the Kremlin, presenting Ukraine as an artificial country inseparable from Russia. The French presidency denounced the “ideological drift” and the “paranoid discourse” of Vladimir Putin.

Two mutual aid agreements between Moscow and the secessionists, lasting ten years, must be ratified by the Russian Parliament on Tuesday. They provide for the deployment of “Russian military units necessary to maintain peace in the region and to ensure lasting security for the parties”. They also provide for “mutual assistance if one of the parties is the target of an attack” and “joint protection” of borders.

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Penalties to come

These decisions therefore mark the end of a peace process under Franco-German mediation which, although regularly violated, had made it possible to stop the most violent clashes of this conflict which has killed more than 14,000 people since its outbreak in 2014, after the annexation of Crimea by Moscow. Moreover, the United States has repeatedly estimated that Moscow could launch a conquest operation to take Kiev by force.

The United States, the European Union, like NATO and London, denounced the decision of the Russian president and mentioned sanctions. Joe Biden thus reaffirmed to his Ukrainian counterpart “the commitment of the United States” to respect “the territorial integrity of Ukraine” and promised “rapid” and “resolute” measures. The French presidency, for its part, announced upcoming EU sanctions targeting Russian entities and individuals. And British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to decide on a “significant sanctions package” on Tuesday.

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