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Russia Recognizes Breakaway Territories in Eastern Ukraine

February 21, 2022

Episode Notes:

Today was an extraordinary day in European history. It began when Vladimir Putin led a televised meeting of the Russian Security Council. During the event, Putin questioned and at times harangued senior Russian national security officials about the crisis in Ukraine. A key agenda item was whether Russia should officially recognize the pro-Russian breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine.

Putin answered that question in the affirmative this evening. After a remarkably angry, defiant, and at times bizarre televised speech — in which the Russian leader called into question Ukraine’s post-Soviet existence, seemed to lament the independence of countries once part of the Russian Empire, and accused Ukraine of being a colony of the West — Putin signed documents officially recognizing the separatist territories in Ukraine. The move has been widely condemned in the West, and could trigger the start of a full scale war between Moscow and Kyiv.

Just as the day’s first meeting was getting underway in Moscow, I spoke with Dr. Emma Ashford to discuss the current military situation on Ukraine’s borders, trans-Atlantic diplomacy, and the implications of additional sanctions on the Russian economy. Emma is a resident senior fellow with the New American Engagement Initiative at the Atlantic Council and a nonresident fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point. She is an expert in U.S. grand strategy and the author of the book, Oil, the State, and War: The Foreign Policies of Petrostates.

[ 01:55 ] Current military situation

[ 03:11 ] How we got here

[ 04:42 ] Crisis diplomacy

[ 06:55 ] Sanctions

[ 10:00 ] What’s next

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