Shellings in Luhansk region prompt questions on sanctions
The villages of Vrubivka and Stanytsia Luhanska in Luhansk Oblast came under shell fire from the occupied part of the oblast on the morning of Feb. 17. A lyceum in Vrubivka and a kindergarten and railway station in Stanytsia Luhanska. Adults were injured in the attack. Though there were children in the kindergarten, there were no injuries confirmed at the time this report was written. Pupils from the lyceum hid in a basement; no injuries are reported. Ukrainian Railways CEO Oleksandr Kamyshyn reported that there was some damage to buildings but no injuries at the station. The villages are approximately 100 km apart.
The shelling comes amid claims and counterclaims regarding Russian troop movements, and whether there are any Russian troops leaving the Ukrainian border. Russia insists that troops are leaving; Ukraine’s allies are consistently stating that troop levels are increasing. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed on Feb. 16 that Ukraine is “just seeing statements” regarding a withdrawal, but no movements.
Also on Feb. 17, Belarusian president Aleksandr Lukashenko told reporters that he would fly to Moscow on Feb. 18 and decide with Putin regarding what to do next with the troops currently on maneuvers.
An EU representative has stated that sanctions related to the shelling are “a political decision”, eurointegration.com.ua reports. The EU is closely monitoring the situation, but currently, discussions regarding sanctions are not on the agenda.
UK foreign secretary Liz Truss told reporters before departing for a visit to Kyiv on Feb. 17 that the tension stoked by the Kremlin could last for weeks, or months.
James Hydzik: The shelling is a testing of the waters, as Ukraine’s territory has not been invaded by people. Depending on how tepid the reaction will be and how much division it sows among Ukraine’s allies, the barrages and other probings of resolve will continue for the foreseeable future.