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Putin Announces 'Special Military Operation' in Ukraine

By Vusala Abbasova February 24, 2022

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In his remarks, Putin also accused the US and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demands to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and provide Moscow with legally binding security guarantees. / RT

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on Thursday morning that Moscow had launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine in response to appeals from leaders of two self-proclaimed separatist-controlled regions of Ukraine, Donetsk and Lugansk.

“Circumstances require us to take decisive and immediate action,” Russian state news agency RIA Novosti quoted Putin as saying.

“The People's Republics of Donbas 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 DPR and LPR, I have decided to conduct a special military operation,” Putin said, referring to the decrees signed on Tuesday, the same day that Russia recognized the so-called Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics as independent entities.

In his remarks, Putin said that his country has no plans to occupy Ukraine, and added that Moscow would move to “demilitarize” the country and bring those who committed crimes to justice.

He also accused the US and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demands to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and provide Moscow with legally binding security guarantees, including those related to a ban on Ukraine entering NATO, the alliance’s any further expansion eastward, and deployment of its weapon systems in close vicinity to Russian territories.

“Russia cannot feel safe, develop and exist with a constant threat emanating from the territory of modern Ukraine,” Putin said, blaming the government of Ukraine for bloodshed.

He also claimed that the Russia's military operation in Donbas aims to protect people in the region who have been “suffering genocide” and abuse at the hands of the Ukrainian government for over eight years.

Ukraine and Russia, the two post-Soviet countries, have been at odds since the 2014 crisis in Ukraine’s southern and eastern regions. Ukraine accuses Russia of annexing the Crimean Peninsula – a territory that extends into the Black Sea – and backing anti-government separatist regimes in the country’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk. The crisis has destabilized the Donetsk and Lugansk regions – collectively known as Donbas. Kyiv and the West accused Russia of supporting the separatist regimes in Donetsk and Lugansk with weapons and troops.

Today's attack prompted immediate condemnation from the United States and its allies, which have issued firm warnings to Russia to de-escalate tensions in the region, threatening to enact “full scale” sanctions in response to Russian actions in Ukraine.

Shortly after Putin’s announcement, US President Joe Biden released a statement denouncing Putin's choice to start “a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering.”

“Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way,” Biden said.