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Russia inches closer to taking the Donbas

Russia inches closer to taking the Donbas

Russia got one step closer to capturing the Donbas region of Ukraine last Sunday when its forces seized the eastern city of Lysychansk after weeks of heavy fighting. Ukraine’s military announced it had been “forced to withdraw” by Russia’s overwhelming firepower and personnel superiority there in order to avoid “fatal consequences.”

"We continue the fight. Unfortunately, steel will and patriotism are not enough for success—material and technical resources are needed," the Ukrainian military said in a Facebook post.

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How to punish Putin

The situation in Ukraine is evolving at lightning speed. After the Kremlin recognized the independent status of Donetsk and Luhansk, two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, the EU and US responded on Monday with strongly worded statements and tepid sanctions.

But Washington and Brussels both upped the ante on Tuesday after Russian tanks began rolling into the Donbas region, a sign, some analysts say, that the days of shuttle diplomacy are over. This was reinforced by Sec. of State Tony Blinken saying Tuesday that a Thursday meeting with his Russian counterpart had been canceled. By Wednesday, Kyiv was urging its citizens to leave Russia immediately.

What sanctions are currently in place and what might this mean for Russia’s economy?

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Is This the Beginning of a New Cold War? | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Russian troops into Donbas: Beginning of a new Cold War?

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here and right from the Bank of England, where we are looking at the beginning of a new Cold War between the United States, NATO, Europe, and Russia. It has indeed been an extraordinary momentous 24 hours. The Russians have decided they are going ahead to recognize the independence of the breakaway Ukrainian territories in the Donbas, sending in troops. Certainly, expected given where the Douma was heading and the statements from Putin over the last week. But nonetheless, this means diplomacy has failed between the United States, its allies and the Russians. It means sanctions are coming on to the Russians and the Russians are likely to respond and retaliate.

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A militant of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic patrols the damaged building of a local school in the Luhansk region, Ukraine.

REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

Setting Ukraine's rebels free?

The pace of Russia-Ukraine news is accelerating. Russian President Vladimir Putin says his troops are pulling back from the border, while Washington, NATO, and Kyiv say they’re not. Russia has expelled the deputy American ambassador from Moscow.

The week’s most ominous developments, however, center on the Donbas, the breakaway region of eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian soldiers have been exchanging fire throughout the eight-year conflict. On Thursday, reports emerged that two schools, including a kindergarten, had been hit by shelling. Ukraine and Russia traded accusations over which side fired first, raising concerns that finger-pointing could lead to an escalation. Russia is “actively trying to provoke the Ukrainians into steps that would justify a Russian military intervention,” GZERO Media President Ian Bremmer said on Thursday in Germany ahead of the Munich Security Conference.

But there’s another Donbas development that reminds us of what Putin really wants – and signals what he might do next.

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Russia-Ukraine Crisis: Major Escalation This Week | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Russia-Ukraine crisis: Major escalation this week

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on the major escalation this week over the big issue everyone is worried about: Russia and Ukraine.

Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here. And I'm on the ground in Munich where the sun is popping through. I wish I could say that that had some symbolism. It does not appear this way. It is the first major security confab to come together post-pandemic or in pandemic. And there's still all sorts of vigorous rules and regulations on how few people can come and everyone wearing masks and social distancing. But the major leaders are all arriving, and they're arriving at a time of extreme geopolitical concern.

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Russian & Ukrainian Negotiators Discuss Solutions For Donbas Conflict| Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Minsk agreement a path to resolving Ukraine crisis

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe this week from Stockholm.

First, what's happening with the dispute with Russia?

Well, the Europeans, Paris and Berlin, are trying to revive the negotiations over the Donbas issue, the so-called Minsk format. I think that's a distinct sideshow, but of course, it would be good. But otherwise, we are waiting for the answer from Moscow, for the papers that were put on the table by Washington and by NATO, effectively rejecting most of the Russian demands, and they will see what happens thereafter.

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