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How did the crisis between Russia and Ukraine escalate | Newsyel

How did the crisis between Russia and Ukraine escalate

How did the crisis between Russia and Ukraine escalate | Newsyel

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly denied intending to invade Ukraine, but the United States claims he made the decision to invade, and is close to doing so.

How did the situation get to this point?

 The significance of Putin's recognition of the two breakaway regions Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday made a televised speech declaring that he would recognize the independence of the two Ukrainian regions controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

He also claimed that Ukraine had no history as a real country, and accused the Ukrainian authorities of corruption without providing evidence for this. Shortly after the announcement, President Putin signed orders to his forces to carry out "peacekeeping missions" in both regions. The scope of those missions remains unclear, but if troops cross the border it will be the first time Russian soldiers have formally entered separatist-controlled territory.

In a late-night address to his people, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country wanted peace, but added: "We are not afraid," and "we will not concede anything to anyone." He added that Kiev now needed "clear and effective support" from its international partners.

 "It is very important to see now who is our true friend and partner, and who will continue to use mere words to intimidate the Russian Federation," the Ukrainian president said.

Both NATO and the European Union condemned President Putin's decision, and US President Joe Biden said he would impose sanctions on Russia. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, tweeted that the Russian move was a "flagrant violation of international law" and "the territorial integrity of Ukraine."

What does Russia's recognition of the independence of two separatist regions in Ukraine mean?

The beginning of the crisis dates back to November, when Russia began moving huge numbers of its army troops to the areas near the Ukrainian border. But on February 15, after the number of those forces reached 100,000, President Putin said that there would be a partial withdrawal  of Russian forces.

A spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry said that our military units have begun to return to the European Union. However, Ukraine and its partners say there is a decrease in the number of troops deployed in the border areas.

Following the Russian announcement, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated: “They are constantly moving forces forward and backward.

Troops have always moved left and right, forward and backward and in all directions, but the trend that has remained consistent over the past weeks and months is the continuous increase in Russian (military) capabilities close to Ukraine's borders.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the BBC: "We are, frankly, reacting to the reality before us, and we have not yet seen any withdrawal of forces."

Last Sunday, Belarus' Ministry of Defense announced that the 30,000 Russian troops stationed in the country would stay there, although they were due to return to their bases following the end of their military training.

According to US estimates, the number of Russian forces in the region exceeds 150,000, including separatist forces in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Bad situation in eastern Ukraine

In 2014, Russia wrested control of Ukrainian territory in Crimea and supported separatist forces fighting in the eastern Donbass and Luhansk regions. The conflict in the east claimed more than 14,000 lives, and separatist groups unilaterally declared what they called the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics.

And last Friday, the Ukrainian service reported that the heavy artillery and mortar fire fired there was the most intense in years. The international observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe pointed out that hundreds of ceasefire violations occurred in their report, which covers the period from 17 to 18 February.

Russian-backed separatist leaders in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions announced the evacuation, saying that Ukraine had intensified its bombing of the two regions and planned an attack on them.

Denis Pushilin, the leader of the Donetsk People's Republic, announced the evacuation in a video allegedly recorded last Friday. However, an analysis of the metadata by the BBC showed that it was recorded earlier, before the outbreak of hostilities.

The diplomatic correspondent Paul Adams described the idea that there was a need to evacuate the population as Ukraine was preparing for an attack as "unfounded".

The BBC's Eastern Europe correspondent Sarah Rainsford wrote on Twitter that Russian television was reporting allegations of an imminent attack by Ukrainian forces on separatist-held areas. In response to similar allegations, Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba tweeted: "Russia, stop making fake news." He denied Ukraine had launched an attack on separatist-held areas, or had bombed or crossed the Russian border.

The United States has warned over the past weeks that Russia may seek to create a crisis to justify military action (including the use of the so-called "false flag" tactic, a term referring to a fabricated attack by the state against its own interests in order to justify retaliation), But it did not provide any specific evidence to support those claims.

Are there any signs of a diplomatic solution to the crisis?

Even before Russia announced the recognition of the independence of the two regions controlled by the Ukrainian separatists it supports, there were no signs that the two sides of the crisis were close to negotiating a diplomatic agreement.

At the beginning of February, President Putin reiterated Russia's demands following a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban: "Stop NATO expansion, cancel the deployment of weapons near the Russian border, and return NATO military facilities to the locations they were in 1997 when The Constitutive Law Agreement was signed between Russia and the Alliance.

For its part, NATO says that there will be no limits to military deployment within its member states, and refuses to agree to restrictions that prevent certain countries from joining the alliance in the future.

Non-NATO countries have also said they do not accept Russia dictating whether they can join the alliance in the future.

On Saturday, Ukrainian President Zelensky called for a "clear and practical timeframe" for his country's accession to the alliance, during a security conference held in the German city of Munich.

Finland, which shares a border with Russia like Ukraine, has also stated that it should be free to decide whether or not to join NATO in the future.

It is as if talks are scheduled this week between US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, but the deteriorating situation must have cast doubts on the possibility of that happening.