STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT- Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that he ordered his country’s military to conduct a special operation in the Donbass region after the leaders of the breakaway republics asked Moscow for military assistance in response to what they claim is an increase in “Ukrainian aggression.”
“Circumstances require us to take decisive and immediate action,” the order reads. “The People’s Republics of Donbass turned to Russia with a request for help. In this regard, in accordance with Article 51, part 7 of the UN Charter, with the sanction of the Federation Council and in pursuance of the friendship treaties ratified by the Federal Assembly and mutual assistance with the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, I have decided to conduct a special military operation,” Putin stated.
At the same time, in an address to the public, the Russian president said he wanted to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” Ukraine. According to him, “we have no plans to occupy Ukrainian territory.” Within moments of the speech, a series of explosions were reported in cities across Ukraine, with CNN, CBC and a number of Ukrainian media outlets reporting a blast in the capital, Kiev.
In a statement, US President Joe Biden said that “the prayers of the world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by the Russian military forces.”
The decision comes days after Moscow recognized the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk breakaway republics in the Donbass, alleging Kiev had not lived up to its obligations under the Minsk agreements struck in 2014 and 2015 to resolve conflict between separatists and the Ukrainian government.
Officials later authorized what they described as a “peacekeeping operation” in the region. Western leaders for months had predicted a looming incursion, claiming Russia has amassed troops near its border with Ukraine and in neighboring Belarus, where Moscow has conducted joint drills in recent weeks.
Russia has so far denied plans for an attack, however, and maintains its actions in the Donbass will be defensive in nature. The US and its European partners have already imposed sanctions on a series of Russian financial institutions, officials and lawmakers following the recognition of the break-away states, vowing to bring more penalties should Moscow “further invade” Ukraine.
Previously, the heads of Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) wrote to Russian President Vladimir Putin separately, but both letters were dated Tuesday, February 22.
The DPR’s Denis Pushilin and his LPR counterpart Leonid Pasechnik invoked articles three and four of their newly ratified treaties on cooperation and mutual aid with Russia, asking Moscow to “render aid in repelling the military aggression of the Ukrainian regime,” which they claim is waging war against them.
“Ukrainian aggression is increasing,” Pushilin wrote citing the alleged increase in artillery bombardment targeting critical civilian infrastructure and reportedly leaving 300,000 people without water after the republic’s main waterworks were hit. The DNR leader claimed Ukraine is continuing what he called a “genocide” of the civilians, which apparently has forced the evacuation of over 40,000 people so far. Pasechnik also noted that over 51,000 people have been evacuated from Lugansk so far, more than half of them children.
Donetsk and Lugansk declared their independence from Ukraine in 2014, after the West-backed protests ended with a coup ousting the democratically elected government in Kiev. The Ukrainian military’s attempts to subjugate the area by force failed, resulting in the uneasy ceasefires signed in Minsk, Belarus – first in September 2014, then in February 2015.
Claiming for war result
Russia has taken out Ukraine’s air defenses and airforce with a series of precision attacks, the country’s Defense Ministry has said in a statement, after airports and runways across the country were rocked by explosions.
Officials also claimed on Thursday morning that Ukrainian border guards are not resisting advancing Russian troops, who have moved in after President Vladimir Putin signed an order to begin a “special operation” in the Donbass. At the same time, officials denied claims made by Kiev’s defense chiefs that Russia had lost at least one military plane over the country during the offensive.
In an earlier statement, Moscow reported that it was carrying out strikes at elements of Ukraine’s military infrastructure.
Russia launched the offensive against Ukraine on Thursday morning on the orders of President Vladimir Putin, who said the goal of the operation was to demilitarize and “de-Nazify” Ukraine.
The Russian leader claimed military action was necessary to stop Ukrainian attacks on the two breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, which Moscow recognized as sovereign states on Monday. He claimed Russia could come under attack by Ukrainian radicals, unless their influence in the country is diminished, and accused Western nations of arming Kiev against Russia.
Fierce fighting has broken out between Ukrainian forces and troops loyal to the breakaway republic of Donetsk, the spokesman for the separatist region’s militia announced on Thursday morning.
In a statement, Eduard Basurin said that “the armed forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic are attacking the positions of the Ukrainian Army along the entire line of contact, using every means of destruction available to them,” he said.
Earlier the same morning, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced it had begun strikes against military targets across Ukraine, with explosions heard in major cities.
The news came after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order authorizing the immediate use of force as part of a “special operation” in the Donbass. Citing requests from local leaders for support, Putin said he would “take decisive and immediate action” to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” Ukraine.
Kiev’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, issued a statement in which he declared that Moscow “has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.” According to him, “this is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and will win,” he insisted. “The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.”
Earlier on Thursday, Kiev claimed that five Russian planes and one helicopter had been shot down in the Lugansk region, near the separatist-held territory which Russian President Vladimir Putin officially recognized as independent on Monday. President Volodymyr Zelensky has declared martial law in the country, urging citizens to stay calm and stay at home.
Global society has condemned Russia
Foreign leaders have condemned Moscow’s actions, with US President Joe Biden saying that Russia had declared a “premeditated war” that would lead to “catastrophic loss of life and human suffering.” Meanwhile, several major powers leaders are condemning Russia’s special operation in Donetsk and Lugansk such as England Prime Minister, Boris Jhonson, Japan’s Prime Minister and German Chancellor, Olaf Scholl.
The next questions is if western country will help Ukraine against Russia or not, because an international speculation has rised such as NATO does not make statement over Russia’s special operation in Ukraine including the United Nations because Russia is one of the United Nations Security Board same with the US, Chinese and several western countries.
The capability of Russia’s military power is more powerfull than Ukraine’s military strength, eventhough Russia’s has domestic economy situation does not run well because unemployment, Covid-19’s impact, poverty and foreign debt are daily Russia’s economic situation which can describe.
At least, now Putin’s decision starting war against Ukraine is wrong decision eventhough Putin has warned other countries especially NATO did not intervere on these crisis, because Russia will give “unforgettable actions” for whom will intervere on Russia-Ukraine’s war today. I think global major power which is leaded by the US will give complex and comprehensive economic and diplomatic sanction to Russia. Economic and trade embargo for Russia will come soon from global society and maybe Russia will counter it which those country does not export gas and energy to several western countries which are the US and NATO’s allies.
Chinese will monitor and see what is going on over Russia-Ukraine’s war. 14 countries which will be impacted over this war maybe they will prepare for it. But, if an international especially NATO’s intervention on this war, Russia will defeat Ukraine as soon as possible, because the long terms war does not make Russia’s happy and global society including Indonesia which could impact from this war especially if gasoline and oil global prices will rise as soon as possible.
The writer is an international issues observer. He had earned his master degree at the University of Indonesia (UI).