Russian plan to move troops to eastern Ukraine 'scary', Kyiv residents say

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By Euronews  with AFP
Women hold Ukrainian flags as they gather to celebrate a Day of Unity in Odessa, Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022.
Women hold Ukrainian flags as they gather to celebrate a Day of Unity in Odessa, Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022.   -   Copyright  Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo

Shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he would recognise two separatist regions in Eastern Ukraine, people on the streets of Kyiv responded to the news in shock and fear.

"I am very shocked," said 22-year-old Artem Ivaschenko, a cook from Donetsk. He moved to Kyiv eight years ago.

He told AFP that the recognition was the "scariest news" he received since he arrived in Kyiv. "I live [in Kyiv], I already lost a part of my homeland. It was taken away, so I will protect it".

Victoria Honchar, a student temporarily staying in the Ukrainian capital, described the news as “very scary”.

“I am from Chernihiv Oblast, which is close to the border with Belarus,” she said. “It’s really scary that the number of troops is increasing over there".

In the US, President Joe Biden immediately responded to the news of the recognition - and Putin’s promise to send Russian troops - with an executive order banning trade and investment in the separatist regions, Donetsk and Luhansk.

French President Emmanuel Macron also announced that the European Union is preparing a list of individuals and entities to sanction.

But in the separatist region of Donetsk, some residents took to the streets to celebrate Putin’s announcement.

“This is what I will tell my children, which I have plenty. That's why I am trying to remember this moment,” said Andrey, a resident in Donetsk. He refused to provide his last name.

“I cannot put all the emotions into words. I am happy, I am happy."

Aleksandr, another resident, expressed similar emotions: "This cannot be described, these are unforgettable emotions. For eight years this situation was unfolding and at last, we are Donetsk People's Republic."

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