In the war zone:
- Russian proxies launch 86 attacks on Ukrainian positions in Donetsk, Luhansk and Mariupol sectors, incl heavy artillery and weapons banned by Minsk, reports JFO.
- 3 Ukrainian soldiers killed, 18 wounded; 1 civilian killed
- Between evenings of February 18-20, OSCE SMM recorded 2,158 violations, incl 38 explosions in Donetsk Oblast, 1,073 violations, incl 926 explosions in Luhansk Oblast.
- Escalation all over Donbas. Particularly targeted was the town of Schastia, which was hit by MLRS Grad rockets launched from the Luhansk area, which damaged the local Luhansk thermal power plant. It caught fire, and after having its power lines damaged by with rockets from Russian proxies, was down. Consequently, the town of Schastia and Vrubivka were left without heat or power, Luhansk military-civil administration head Serhiy Haidai reported.
IT specialists in Kyiv have launched an automated monitoring system to record movements of Russian troops near the borders of Russia-Ukraine and Belarus-Ukraine. The data is published on their website, which is currently in test mode.
Zelenskyy announces call of reservists
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday said he is conscripting reservists for a special period but ruled out a general mobilization.
Lies in Putin’s speech, dissected
Vox Ukraine laboriously breaks down the many lies of Putin’s yesterday’s speech.
Russia’s recognition of its proxy “republics,” continued
Russian Duma ratifies agreements with Russia’s puppet “republics”
The Russian Duma ratified agreements with Russia’s puppet “LDNR.” Their main points:
- sides agree not to partake in unions directed against other side;
- issue of double citizenship, recognition of documents, travel outlined;
- sides give right to build, use, improve&use military structure& bases on their territory;
Essentially, the agreements give Russia the right to full military activity, including building in the territory of the “LDNR,” The agreements themselves do not say what the territory of this “LDNR” is, only specifying that the issue of the protection of the state border to be determined in a separate agreement,
After recognizing its puppet Donetsk and Luhansk “republics” in Donbas on 21 February, Vladimir Putin on 22 February stated it is recognizing them within the borders of two entire Ukrainian oblasts, the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts. He also announced Russia is withdrawing from the Minsk agreements.
Russian troops allowed to enter Ukraine
Russian parliament’s upper house on Tuesday voted to allow President Vladimir Putin to use the Russian army outside the country to support the “LDNR” proxy states in Ukraine.
Scholz suspends Nord Stream 2
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said Nord Stream2 cannot go ahead in these crisis circumstances. Says approval process has been halted.
“I welcome Germany’s move to suspend the certification of Nord Stream 2. This is a morally, politically and practically correct step in the current circumstances. True leadership means tough decisions in difficult times. Germany’s move proves just that,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Kuleba tweeted in response.
Ukraine’s MFA, Rada call on international society to impose sanctions against Russia
“The time has come to act in order to stop Russian aggression and restore peace and stability in Europe… We therefore insist on application against Russia of harsh sanctions to send a clear signal of inadmissibility of further escalation,” Ukraine’s MFA responded to Russia’s recognition of its puppet “republics.”
The MFA added that Russia unilaterally withdrew from the Minsk agreements.
The Rada also adopted a resolution after Russia’s recognition of “LDNR,” in which it also stated Russia unilaterally withdrew from Minsk, called on all international organizations to not recognize “LDNR” and condemn Russia’s actions, called to stop Nord Stream 2 and disconnect Russia from SWIFT, ban hi-tec exports to Russia.
UK imposes sanctions
UK has imposes sanctions against 5 Russian banks and 3 oligarchs from Putin’s circle. Magnitsky act founder assesses them as “pretty tepid.”
“The UK is sanctioning 5 Russian banks (Rossiya Bank, IS bank, General Bank, Promsviazbank, Black Sea bank) and 3 oligarchs: Igor and Boris Rotenberg, and Gennadiy Timchenko. Pretty tepid if you ask me. The oligarchs have been on the US sanctions list since 2018,” Bill Browder tweeted.
EU sanctions 351 Russian lawmakers who voted to recognize Russia’s proxies
The European Union has agreed to sanction the 351 members of the State Duma who voted in favor of Russia’s recognition of the “LDNR.”
The bloc will also punish 27 individuals and entities accused of destabilizing Ukraine, waging disinformation campaigns and providing financial support to the two separatist regions.
The targets will come from the political, military, business and media sectors, and will be subject to asset freezes and travel bans, which means they will not be allowed to enter or transit through EU territory.
The new package of sanctions also limits the Russian government’s access to the EU’s capital and financial services markets and blocks the refinancing of Russian sovereign debt. Banks that “finance the Russian military apparatus” will also be penalised.
Additionally, trade between EU countries and the breakaway regions is banned.
Biden puts sanctions on Russian banks and elites as he says Ukraine invasion has begun
Biden, speaking to reporters at the White House, said the United States would impose sanctions against two large Russian financial institutions and Russian sovereign debt. Sanctions were imposed against Russian elites and their family members as well, administration officials said.
“A point of no return.” Ukraine’s civil society leaders appeal to US, EU for “severest sanctions” to stop Russia
Following Russia’s recognition of its puppet statelets in Donbas and decree to introduce “peacekeeping” troops there, Ukraine’s civil society leaders appeal to the US Congress and EU Parliament for a wide scale of targeted sanctions against Russia, including asset freezes, visa bans for oligarchs from Putin’s inner circle and family members, embargo of oil and gas products, stopping Nord Stream 2 for good.
Blinken says meeting with Lavrov is off after Russia moves on Ukraine
Russia evacuates embassies and consulates in Ukraine; reports of documents being burned
Russia ordered the evacuation of diplomatic staff at its embassy in Kyiv and consulates in Odesa, Lviv, and Kharkiv, saying that they’ve been “repeatedly attacked” since 2014 and citing “Russophobia.” Following this, reports came in that items (presumably, documents) were being burned outside the consulates in Lviv and Odesa.
Russia tries to provoke riots in Ukrainian prisons through connections in the criminal world – Justice Minister
Minister of Justice Dmytro Maliuska says: “Just in case, for the next few weeks, don’t react emotionally to fake videos & paid protests near prisons,” he adds
SBU foils Russian terrorist attacks on Moscow Patriarchate churches in Kharkiv
Russia was planning to launch terrorist acts involving arsoning 4 churches of the Moscow Patriarchate in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s SBU says. SBU claims it intercepted phone calls with participation of a Russian client Reportedly, the perpetrators were to be paid $1k.
Rallies in support of Ukraine in Berlin, Mariupol
600 people rallied at the Russian Embassy in Berlin today against Putin’s Ukraine policy. The protesters called for rapid sanctions against Russia and NATO’s quick action. Among the participants were SPD chief Saskia Esken & Berlin Cultural Senator Klaus Lederer.
A # rally took place ongoing in Mariupol, the Azov Sea port city in Donetsk Oblast threatened by the looming further Russian invasion.
Dissident, writer Dziuba passes away
Ukrainian literary critic, dissident, writer, Hero of Ukraine Ivan Dziuba passed away on Feb 22, 2022. Dziuba was a prominent figure inliterary circles & a leader of the national spiritual revival of the late 20th & early 21st century.