After months of military build-up and reinforcement, US President Joe Biden on Tuesday described Russia’s moves in Ukraine was “the beginning of an invasion of Russia.”
Here’s what you need to know:
What did Russia do? On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin orders the army into Donetsk and Luhansk – two pro-Moscow breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine – in what the Kremlin calls a “peacekeeping” mission. The move comes just hours after he signed a decree recognizing the independence of the regions.
Many US and Western officials warn this could be the opening blow to a larger military campaign against Ukraine. More than 150,000 Russian troops today besiege Ukraine on three sides, according to estimates by U.S. and Ukrainian intelligence officials.
How did Ukraine react? On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he remained committed to diplomacy as a way out of the crisis. Reservists will be called up for military training, he said, but there will be no general mobilization of the armed forces.
“We want peace and quiet, but if we are quiet today, tomorrow we will disappear,” Zelensky said.
How did the world react? Russia’s actions have been strongly condemned by many countries, with Western leaders imposing new sanctions on Tuesday and severing a key pipeline with Russia.
Biden announced that the United States would sanction Russian financial institutions and oligarchs. The European Union also sanctioned 351 Russian lawmakers who voted to recognize the breakaway regions, and the United Kingdom announced sanctions against five Russian banks and three Russian oligarchs.
Also on Tuesday, Germany said it stopped validating $11 billion 750 miles long pipeline direct connection between Russia and Germany. The Nord Stream 2 The project was completed in September but has yet to receive the final green light from German regulators. Without that, natural gas could not flow through the pipeline from the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.
On Wednesday, Japan and Australia joined the list of countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia, Donetsk and Luhansk.