On Monday. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into separatist regions of Ukraine on a “peacekeeping” mission.
The move came shortly after Putin announced that Russia would be recognizing the two regions, Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk, as independent people’s republics.
“Putin has ordered Russian troops into Ukraine. The decrees on recognizing the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics order the Russian armed forces to go into separatist territory on peacekeeping missions,” Financial Times’ Moscow Bureau Chief Max Seddon reported.
The news comes as Russian military commanders have been reportedly given orders to proceed with invading Ukraine.
“They’re doing everything that American commanders would do once they got the order to proceed,” CBS’ national security correspondent David Martin said during CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
“The intelligence says that Russian troops have actually received orders now to proceed with the invasion. So not only are they moving up closer and closer to the border and into these attack positions, but the commanders on the ground are making specific plans for how they would maneuver in their sector of the battlefield,” Martin added.
According to Russia expert Rebekah Irina Koffler, a “blitzkrieg-type” could occur as early as Monday night.
“Having recognized the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics and signed treaties today, Russia will almost certainly deploy armed forces, imminently, to occupy these breakaway territories. Putin has already authorized the deployment of ‘peacekeeping’ troops into Eastern Ukraine,” Koffler said. “Russian offensive operation against Ukraine will likely begin at 8 pm Eastern time and may not be limited to occupying Eastern Ukraine. Moscow is waging a propaganda campaign that lays out the pretext for an incursion into Ukraine proper. Russia may launch a large-scale air and missile bombardment of key military and government command and control facilities in major Ukrainian cities, preceding a ground incursion.”
“I cannot rule out the possibility of Putin’s authorizing a ‘decapitation’ strategy, targeting Kiyv, to force Zelensky to flee, so Moscow can install a pro-Russian leader. At minimum, a crippling cyber warfare campaign will target Kiev, including its power grid,” Koffler added. “This will be a swift blitzkrieg type operation. Whether Putin decides to target only Eastern Ukraine or Ukraine proper, Moscow will declare victory on February 23, the Soviet Army Day.”
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