Renewed risk aversion grappled markets after Russian President Putin signed an executive order, recognizing two separatist territories in Eastern Ukraine - Donetsk and Lugansk . As per Interfax, the relevant decrees state that Russian armed forces will perform "peacekeeping functions in the Donetsk People's Republic" .
Western countries condemned the recognition, with EU Commissioner Ms Von Der Leyen twitting that that it "is a blatant violation of international law the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the Minsk agreements". 
The White House has already announced sanctions on these territories  and US Ambassador to UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, pointed to more sanctions against Russia today, saying that "the United States will take further measures to hold Russia accountable for this clear violation of international law and Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity" .
US and Russian Foreign Ministers were scheduled to meet later this week and there were also prospects of a subsequent Biden-Putin summit, which were contingent though to Russia not invading Ukraine. It remains to be see if the recognition is enough to cancel these meetings and what are Russia's next moves.
Fed Tightening Prospects
The Federal Reserve is widely expected to hike rates when it meets next month, with markets speculating on the size of the move. Recent aggressive pricing for a larger 50 basis points lift-off have moderated, depriving the US Dollar form a source of strength.
CME's FedWatch Tool project a 25 basis point rate increase in March, with 86.7% probability at the time of writing. .
On Monday, Board of Governors member Ms Bowman said she "will be watching the data closely to judge the appropriate size of an increase at the March meeting" and expressed her support for "prompt and decisive action" to bring inflation down. .
XAU/USD – H4
The precious metal has entered its fourth straight profitable week and runs a stellar month, as it attracts safe-haven flows due to geological fears, while the greenback has a lackluster performance lately.
It broke new ground today and has the highs from June 2021 in its crosshairs (1,916), but it may be require a pullback before advancing beyond 1,933, that will bring that year's highs into the spotlight (1,959).
On the other hand, the commodity faces selling pressure during the European session, making it vulnerable to the 1,879-7 region, but the EMA200 (1,835-6) looks distant and the downside seems well protected.
Senior Market Specialist
Nikos Tzabouras is a graduate of the Department of International & European Economic Studies at the Athens University of Economics and Business. He has a long time presence at FXCM, as he joined the company in 2011. He has served from multiple positions, but specializes in financial market analysis and commentary.
With his educational background in international relations, he emphasizes not only on Technical Analysis but also in Fundamental Analysis and Geopolitics – which have been having increasing impact on financial markets. He has longtime experience in market analysis and as a host of educational trading courses via online and in-person sessions and conferences.
Retrieved 22 Feb 2022 http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/67829
Retrieved 22 Feb 2022 https://interfax.com/newsroom/top-stories/73940/
Retrieved 22 Feb 2022 https://twitter.com/vonderleyen/status/1495846146824183816
Retrieved 22 Feb 2022 https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/02/21/fact-sheet-executive-order-to-impose-costs-for-president-putins-action-to-recognize-so-called-donetsk-and-luhansk-peoples-republics/
Retrieved 22 Feb 2022 https://www.cmegroup.com/trading/interest-rates/countdown-to-fomc.html#
Retrieved 03 Jul 2022 https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/bowman20220221a.htm