President Vladimir V. Putin ordered troops into two Russian-backed separatist territories in Ukraine and hinted at the possibility of a wider military campaign and laid claim to all of Ukraine as a country “created by Russia ” in an emotional and aggrieved address to the Russian people.
Putin signed decrees late Monday recognizing the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics and directing the Russian Defense Ministry to deploy troops in those regions to carry out “peacekeeping functions.”
The order was condemned as a violation of international law and Ukraine’s sovereignty by several nations at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Monday night.
“He calls them peacekeepers,” said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “This is nonsense. We know what they really are.”
It was not immediately certain whether the Russian troops would remain only on the territory controlled by the separatist republics, or whether they would seek to capture the rest of the two Ukrainian enclaves whose territory they claim.
And so it was unclear if a long-feared Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine had begun.
The separatists might have invited Russian forces in, but neither Ukraine nor the rest of the world views the so-called republics as anything but Ukrainian territory.
The threat was clear to the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky, which denies that it is responsible for the escalating shelling on the front line between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists in recent days. Russian state television has broadcast extensive reports claiming, without evidence, that Ukraine is preparing an offensive against the separatist territories.
Zelensky, in a televised statement, urged Ukraine’s allies to take action immediately and called for the Ukrainian people to remain calm.
“We are on our own land,” he said. “We are not afraid of anything or anyone.”
Zelensky spoke to President Biden and called a meeting of his Security and Defense Council.
The ongoing threat of war between Russia and Ukraine has sent global oil prices soaring and restricted wheat exports prompting Kenyan households to brace for higher energy and food costs.
The conflict could also trigger a sell-off of shares, pulling down a market that has fully recovered from the economic damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
A major risk event usually sees investors rushing back to bonds and the safest assets in what could hurt the flow of foreign investors to the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) given the foreigners account for 58 per cent of trading at the bourse.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine risks further fanning oil prices — and therefore inflation through costly transport, electricity and other manufactured goods.
Disruptions from any military action or sanctions could also see bread and wheat flour prices rally in Kenya, which relies on imported wheat from Ukraine and Russia.
Moscow has been threatened with sanctions if it invades Ukraine by western powers, which include being denied the chance to trade using the dollar, crippling its ability to trade with countries such as Kenya.
Russia is the fourth-biggest buyer of Kenyan tea, having taken up produce worth Sh6.2 billion in the 11 months to November 2021.