US, Ukraine discuss possible government relocation
The United States is imposing sanctions on the people of the LPR and DPR in response to the Russian declaration of independence of the two republics, with condemnations from the west.
The Biden administration discussed with the Ukrainian government the possible evacuation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky if another escalation takes place, US media reported Monday.
The latest "escalation" in question is Russian President Vladimir Putin recognizing the People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.
"Biden administrations officials have discussed plans with the Ukrainian government for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to leave Kyiv in the event of a Russian invasion, according to two people familiar with the discussions," a top NBC correspondent said.
Biden administration officials have discussed plans with the Ukrainian government for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to leave Kyiv in the event of a Russian invasion, according to two people familiar with the discussions. @carolelee— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) February 21, 2022
Various nations around the world have called on their citizens to leave Ukraine after they had already either withdrawn their diplomats or relocated them from the Ukrainian capital toward Lvov.
In response to Putin's recognition of Donetsk and Lugansk, it was reported that US President Joe Biden would soon issue an order prohibiting new investment, trade, and financing of figures to, from, and in the LPR and DPR.
Reportedly, the new measure would be separate from the sanctions set aside from the alleged "Russian invasion," the White House said.
The move upset many Western leaders, with NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg condemning the recognition of the two republics.
"I condemn Russia's recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine. This undermines efforts to resolve the conflict and violates the Minsk Agreements," Stoltenberg said on Twitter.
I condemn #Russia recognition of Donetsk/Luhansk in #Ukraine. It erodes efforts to resolve the conflict & violates Minsk agreements. #NATO supports Ukraine sovereignty & territorial integrity. We urge Moscow to stop fuelling conflict & choose diplomacy. https://t.co/H4yczPG8XM— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) February 21, 2022
The situation in Donbass region has been escalating over the past few days, with Kiev shelling the Donetsk People's Republic and the Lugansk People's Republic, and the latter ordering general mobilization in anticipation of a Ukrainian offensive.
Denis Pushilin, the head of the Donetsk People's Republic, said Friday a mass evacuation of the population to Russia had been organized over the threat of Ukrainian invasion.
"When the enemy shells the settlements of the republic, the life and health of our citizens may be endangered," he said, explaining that as of February 18, the authorities organized a mass centralized evacuation of their population to Russia.
The Ukrainian security forces reported a sharp increase in the number of ceasefire violations in Donbass while denying any offensive actions.