Putin recognizes Russian proxy ‘republics’ in Donbas amid threat of Russian invasion of Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin has recognized the so-called “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk amid the looming threat of Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In a rambling, three-hour-long speech on the evening of Feb. 21, Putin railed against the very existence of Ukraine, repeating a false claim that it was the creation of the Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, and claiming Ukraine wanted to re-arm itself with nuclear weapons.
Ominously, he told officials in Kyiv to stop the violence, or responsibility for what happens would lie with those in charge in Ukraine."Announcing this, I'm certain of the support of all patriotic forces in Russia," Putin said.
Earlier on Feb. 21, he held an extraordinary meeting of Russia’s Security Council, during which the council’s members voted in favor of the recognition of the “republics.”
The Press Secretary for the Russian President, Dmitry Peskov, said the meeting of the Security Council of the Russian Federation was an unscheduled one, adding that the Kremlin head had also scheduled several international telephone calls.
On Feb. 15, the State Duma, Russia’s parliament, submitted a petition to President Vladimir Putin to recognize the proxy republics. Commenting on the decision, the Russian leader said that the country “should do everything to solve the problems of the Donbas.”
The Kremlin later announced that Putin had received the appeal and had “taken note of it.”
On Feb. 16, Ukraine asked the UN Security Council to discuss the resolution of the State Duma of the Russian Federation on the recognition of the non-government-controlled parts of Ukraine.
Mykhailo Podolyak, advisor to the chief-of-staff to the Office of the President of Ukraine, said that the Duma’s appeal to Putin is seen as an attempt to escalate, and would complicate the situation in Europe.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry stated that Russia's recognition of the non-government-controlled parts of Ukraine would mean a conscious withdrawal from the Minsk agreements, which would deal a serious blow to the peace process to resolve the conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. The EU and NATO have also condemned the State Duma decision.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov claimed that recognition of the Donbas puppet authorities by Putin could be a pretext for a new Russian invasion.
On Feb. 21, the self-declared leaders of the non-government-controlled parts of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, Denis Pushilin and Leonid Pasechnik, respectively, called on the Russian leader to recognize the so-called “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk.
The puppet leaders asked Russia to consider concluding agreements on friendship and cooperation with the territories they occupy, including in defense.
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