This is a short sitrep which will also serve as an open thread, on the situation right now. (I will also update the paragraphs on recognition and sanctions, as the situation becomes clear). Amarynth for the Saker Blog.
The new recognition agreements between Russia recognizing Donetsk and Lugansk as independant countries, are now fully ratified by the Russian parliament and this was unanimous.
The line of contact is relatively quiet so far. There is sporadic firing but since 9 hours, very little of it. Patrick Lancaster from the Ukraine War Report reports that 3 civilians were killed in a roadside IED near Donetsk just after Russia recognized the #DPR and #LPR. He and some fellow journos also came under fire. Russian troops deployed very quickly to carry out Putin’s specific order “to establish peace”.
The actual borders – there still seems to be some confusion and today will bring clarity. The best that I’ve seen is Peskov’s clarification: “DPR and LPR are recognized as independent ‘within the boundaries in which they were proclaimed and exist’.
- Blinken moved all US embassy staff to Poland. He says they will regularly return to continue diplomatic work in Lviv. Poland raised cyberthreat regime from 1/4 to 3/4.
- Biden said the recognition of the two Republics threatens US security.
- The Biden Administration urged President Zelensky to move to Lviv, western Ukraine – ABC.
- US Deputy National Security Advisor Finer says all evidence confirms that Russia is now heading for military action and will not take the diplomatic path.
Nebenzia, at the UNSC briefing:
“Many of our colleagues are willing to attest that the Minsk Agreements are dead, which is not true. Kiev still has to implement them. We (Russia) remain open for a diplomatic solution, but we will not allow for another bloodbath in Donbas.”
“The main task of our decision [on the recognition of independence] was to preserve and protect these lives [of people in Donbass]. This is more important than all your threats.”
Ukrainian representative. to the UN, Kyslytsya says Ukraine’s one goal is peace and the problem of Donbass must be solved through the Minsk agreements.
Zelensky, the monkey with a hand grenade according to Russian Parliament member Andrei Lugovoy, squeaked all day long. “We don’t have time for history lessons”, he says, while calling for emergency meetings with everyone. The most comical comment was that he is going to break diplomatic relations with Russia. There will be no war he says, while also saying that he might institute martial law. Enough of Zelensky!
A moment of sanity from Dogu Perincek, Secretary General of the Turkish Vatan (“Motherland”) Party: “We see that a new world order is being created. The Atlantic block is left behind, the world is entering the Asian one. The US idea of a unipolar world has failed.”
Another moment of sanity: “Putin’s decision on Donbass completely changes the world order.” Serbian President Vučić.
MFA Russia – Zakharova: The letter by US Representative to the Office of the @UN in Geneva to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights @mbachelet on the “first steps” to be taken by Russian authorities after an “inevitable” military invasion of Ukraine has puzzled us.
China: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier in the day, expounding China’s stance and generally repeating that security concerns are now urgent and must be resolved through negotiation. But that is not all. During the phone call, Wang also urged the US side to fulfill a series of promises that US President Joe Biden has made and avoid sending wrong signals on containing China by its new version of the Indo-Pacific Strategy and by its provocations on the Taiwan question else there will be confrontation with Beijing. (Spectacular Pain Dial Moment by digging in the knife)
The all important recognition: The Zone B stalwarts are right in there.
The Houthis, who understand clearly what it means to live under war conditions, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Syria, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia are ready to recognize the new-born twins.
TODAY is SANCTIONS DAY
- The list starts with Germany suspending the Nord Stream 2 certification (pending yet another report).
- US – a ban on investments in the DPR and LPR, as well as any import of the region’s goods, services, or technology to the United States. America is also banned from exporting anything to the republics. Furthermore, Washington has made it completely illegal for any American citizens to conduct financial transactions with the breakaway states, and it has also frozen DPR and LPR assets currently in US banks. From now on, any individual involved in business or politics on the territory of the newly recognized republics may be subject to personal sanctions from the US.
- UK sanctions 5 Russian banks and 3 Russian “high net worth individuals”. Rossiya Bank, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and Black Sea Bank, were named as part of the “first tranche” of the UK government’s response. Alongside the financial institutions, three “very high net worth individuals,” Gennady Timchenko, Igor Rotenberg and Boris Rotenberg, have had their UK assets frozen.
- EU – won’t recognize Russian passports issued to citizens from DPR and LPR.
More will be incoming.