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Russia signs decree to recognise Donetsk and Luhansk independence


MOSCOW, 22 Feb: After decades, Donetsk and Luhansk are now recognised as independent republics.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed two decrees acknowledging Donetsk and Luhansk as independent republics and sovereign states.

At the Kremlin, Putin also sanctioned the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between Russia and “the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR)” and “the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR)” respectively with both heads of republics present.

The treaty led President Putin to instruct the Russian armed forces to maintain peace at the border.

In a televised recording of the event, President Putin said the decision, to recognise the republics, was long overdue.

“Russia has committed all efforts to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine through the suggestion of the 2015 Minsk Agreement which has since ended in vain,” he said.

He added that Ukrainian forces have been shelling settlements within the Donbass region, and highlighted that there is no end to the routine.

Putin explained that the crisis surrounding Europe’s security was due to the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and its interest in accepting Ukraine into its organisation because its inclusion might act as a security threat to Russia.

The crisis was further fuelled after Moscow’s enquiry on Russia’s guaranteed security was left unanswered by the United States (US) and NATO.

The Russian president said Russia isoka in their own consensus if any retaliatory measure is needed to ensure its safety.

With regards to the nature of the West criticising his decisions, Putin was well aware of the pretences of “blackmail”, and he believed that regardless of the situation on the Ukrainian border, he would still be plagued by Western sanctions.

On Monday evening, Putin was reported to have been in contact with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who “expressed their disappointment” with Putin’s plan to recognise the LPR and the DPR but at the same time, showed readiness to continue contacts, according to a Kremlin statement.

The US and its Western allies are closely monitoring Russia’s decision while US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov this Thursday to discuss the possible summit between both countries. – TVS

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