Tensions between Russia and Ukraine do not appear to be easing, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stance has hardened. According to AFP, Vladimir Putin stated that a peace plan to end the Ukraine conflict is unlikely. In the midst of escalating tensions in eastern Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin called an extraordinary meeting of the Russian Security Council on Monday.
Putin stated at the meeting that Russia was considering a request to recognize the separatist republics of eastern Ukraine’s independence. Two self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine have petitioned Putin to recognize their independence. At the same time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has mentioned a Thursday meeting in Geneva with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Russia claims that military drills pose no threat to Ukraine.
Russia claims that the increased army strength has always been for military exercises and that Ukraine or any other country is not in danger. However, Russia has refused to provide any explanation for the largest military gathering in Europe since the end of the Cold War. 15 border crossings in Russia’s Rostov region were opened to refugees from eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region on Saturday. Later that day, Denis Pushilin, the leader of the pro-Russian separatist DPR, announced that he had signed a general mobilization agreement.
Putin and Macron spoke on the phone.
On the French side’s initiative, Putin and Macron had a phone conversation on Sunday. According to reports in the media, President Obama agreed to meet with the Tripartite Group on Monday to discuss Ukraine (Russia, Ukraine, OSCE – Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe). Macron’s intention to withdraw troops from Belarus after the current joint military exercise ends was also confirmed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to reports.
The gathering of about 150,000 troops from the Donbass region in Russia’s east to Belarus in the north and the Crimea border in the south, which began in cold weather, has resulted in recent tensions.