Putin signs ‘immediate’ recognition of Donbass regions

The decision comes amid fears of a worsening conflict in Ukraine’s war-torn east

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that Moscow will recognize the two self-declared breakaway Donbass republics in Ukraine’s east as sovereign nations, as a military standoff across the contact line continues to escalate.

Speaking as part of a televised address to the nation on Monday evening, Putin signed the decree, saying that “I deem it necessary to make a decision that should have been made a long time ago to immediately recognize the Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) People’s Republics.” Lawmakers will now be asked to consider statements of friendship and support with the two regions.

The move, he said, was a direct result of the failure of the 2014 Minsk agreements, designed to put an end to fighting. “They are not interested in peaceful solutions – they want to start Blitzkreig,” he claimed. “Every day they are amassing troops in the Donbass,” Putin went on.

At the same time, he slammed Ukraine for “extreme nationalism,” Nazism” and “Russophobia,” pointing to the shuttering of Russian-language news outlets, and laws he said discriminate against Russian speakers.

The head of state also alleged that Kiev is sending saboteurs to target Russian infrastructure, and attempting to “drag foreign states into conflict with our country.” Ukraine’s ambitions to join NATO, he insisted, would mean an “immediate threat of attack against our country.”  

Putin began the address by setting out his version of Ukrainian history and the former Soviet republic’s ties to Russia. “Let me stress once again that Ukraine is not just a neighboring country for us. It is an integral part of our own history, culture, and spiritual world,” he said, emphasizing that Ukrainians are “people Russians have blood and family ties with,” as well as friends, neighbors and colleagues.

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