Russian proxies announce military mobilization, Kremlin spreads dangerous fake news, Zelensky questions Budapest Memorandum in Munich

19 February 2022, 08:29 PM

Tensions rose drastically in Ukraine on Feb. 19, a day after U.S. President Joe Biden said in an address that he was now confident Russia’s President Vladimir Putin had made a decision to attack Ukraine. NV has collected the top news from a very busy Saturday in this digest.

Ukraine’s Zelensky questions Budapest Memorandum

During his speech at Munich Security Conference, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he would initiate consultations on the Budapest Memorandum.  In 1994 Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan voluntarily dropped their nuclear status and were obliged to give up all their nuclear weapons in return for security guarantees from three major nuclear powers – the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom. The treaty. called the Budapest Memorandum of Security Assurances, was violated by Russia when it occupied Crimea and started a war in the Donbas. When accused of breaching the Memorandum in March 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that after EuroMaidan Revolution a new state had appeared in Ukraine, to which Russia had provided no guarantees.

Video of day

In Munich, Zelensky said that if the signatories of the Budapest Memorandum would not agree to talk about Budapest Memorandum guarantees to Ukraine, Kyiv might see the assurances of the signatories as being in question.

“Ukraine is initiating consultations for the fourth time. And this is the last time,” Zelensky said. “If the consultations don’t happen again and there are no concrete decisions made, Ukraine would have the right to say the Budapest Memorandum does not work and (our) decisions of 1994 can be in question.”

Zelensky noted that Ukraine voluntarily give up being the third biggest nuclear power in the world status in the 1990s.

“We have no (nuclear) weapons. And we have no security. We’ve lost a part of our territory, bigger then Switzerland, the Netherlands or Belgium,” Zelensky said. “But the most important is that we lost millions of our citizens. We’ve lost that all. But we still have the right to demand security guarantees provision instead of the appeasement politics.”

In Munich Zelensky also met the U.S Vice President Kamala Harris.

Meanwhile Russia spreads fake news about Ukraine’s offensive

Ukraine’s Army could not have chosen a “better” time for an attack against the Russian proxies of Donbas and Russia itself than the time when more than 150,000 Russian troops have gathered near Ukraine’s borders and in Russian-occupied Crimea – according to Russian propaganda media. Since morning, Russian media were spreading information about "sabotage" – both in the territories not controlled by the Ukrainian government, and in the border regions of Russia.

Kremlin propaganda media claimed a Ukrainian shell had impacted in Rostov Oblast, a Russian region bordering eastern Ukraine. According to the Russian security forces, the "Ukrainian military" allegedly fired at the territory of the Russian Federation with a Grad Missile System. Ukrainian Commander in Chief Valery Zaluzhny denied the report in a Facebook post, calling the news a “false flag.”

The Ukrainian military said in a statement that the notorious Wagner Group had been deployed to the Russian-controlled parts of the Donbas to launch provocations that would be then blamed on Ukraine. Ukrainian servicemen warned there was a possibility of blasts in residential buildings.

Not welcome

At the same time more than 3,400 citizens from the non-government controlled parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblast were evacuated to Russia’s Rostov Oblast, Russian media reported on Feb. 19, quoting Russian proxy forces. In Russian the evacuees faced multiply challenges. They were forced to spend hours in buses with no water and no toilets. People from Donbas complained to Russian journalists that they don’t know what to do, and that Russian authorities had not provided enough housing space.

Evacuees from Donbas stand puzzled in Russia's Rostov Oblast (Фото: Courtesy)
Evacuees from Donbas stand puzzled in Russia's Rostov Oblast / Photo: Courtesy


In the morning on Feb. 19 Russian proxy leaders in Donetsk and Luhansk announced a full-scale mobilization. At the same time, Ukraine’s Ombudswoman Liudmyla Denisova said the Russian proxy forces were forbidding men aged 18 to 55 from leaving the Donbas for Russia.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google News

Ukraine Today
Fresh daily newsletter covering the top headlines and developments in Ukraine
Daily at 9am EST
Show more news