Hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the independence and sovereignty of breakaway states Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) located in Ukraine’s eastern regions, Putin has sent Russian forces to enter the region for ‘peacekeeping’ missions in Ukrainian territory controlled by Russia since its proxy invasion in 2014.
The entrance of Russian troops within Ukraine’s eastern breakaway states raised suspicion and fears that the Kremlin may be positioning itself for an invasion of Ukraine. This series of military actions come after Putin created a pretext by signing decrees recognizing Donetsk and Luhansk as republics independent of Ukraine, effectively destroying the Minsk Protocol, an agreement which sought to end the war in Donbas through a series of bilateral ceasefires and monitoring.
Columns of military vehicles, armored personnel carriers and tanks were seen entering Donetsk just hours ago as Putin signed the decrees as well as the friendship treaties. No insignia was reportedly found by those observing the situation on the ground. However, reports online were later verified by different news sites. A great number of civilian buses were also used to bring Russian troops into the region.
One prominent online report that surfaced was by Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s law-making body) Member Lisa Yasko who tweeted a series of videos showing Russian military equipment arriving in Donetsk and Luhansk. Journalist Jake Hanrahan had also taken videos showing the Russian military transporting peacekeepers to Donbas.
— Lisa Yasko (@LisaYasko) February 21, 2022