Russia has struck a blow against the peace process, says German FM

22 February 2022, 01:52 PM

Russia’s recognition of the non-government-controlled areas of Ukraine’s Donbas as independent “republics” is a “flagrant violation of international law and a heavy blow” to diplomatic efforts in resolving the Russia-Ukraine conflict, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a statement on Feb. 21.

Baerbock said that “many years of (diplomatic) efforts within the Normandy framework and OSCE are being intentionally wiped away for no reason.”

She added that the credibility of “Russia’s commitment to a diplomatic solution of the crisis” is significantly damaged.

Baerbock described Moscow’s latest steps as “another violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” which Germany “condemns.”

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The minister said that Berlin, together with its partners, would respond to this violation of international law.

The message draws attention to the fact that Russia is now in breach of its obligations as outlined by the Minsk Protocol of 2014.

“We demand that Russia cancel the decision it took and return to a diplomatic and political solution of the conflict,” said Baerbock.

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.”

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 tensions, 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 the Donbas. The EU and NATO have also condemned the State Duma decision.

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, called on the Russian leader to recognize the so-called “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk.

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