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Russia Recognises Donbass Republics' Independence

By Alexey Nikolsky

February 21, 2022: Information Clearing House -- Earlier in the day, in an emergency session of the Russian Security Council, the Russian president consulted with ministers, senior security officials and members of the government to present their views on the matter and its potential political, economic and strategic implications.


Russia will recognize the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, President Vladimir Putin has announced.

"I deem it necessary to make a decision that should have been made long ago - to immediately recognize the sovereignty and independence of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Lugansk People's Republic," Putin said.
The Russian president signed the corresponding documents and asked the Federal Assembly to support the signing of treaties of cooperation with the Donbass breakaways.
"Ukraine is not just a neighbour to us, but an inherent part of our history, culture and spiritual space. They are our comrades...our family, people we have blood and family ties with," Putin said in an address to the nation Monday night outlining his decision.
"Modern Ukraine was completely created by Russia, more precisely by Communist Russia. This process was started after the 1917 Revolution," Putin said. The president suggested that Ukraine saw its territory expand at "historic Russia's" expense after the Revolution, and at Poland's expense after the Second World War, with Poland receiving compensation in the form of German lands to its west. He also recalled that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev cut Crimea off from the Russian Soviet republic's jurisdiction and handed it over to the Ukrainian Soviet republic in the 1954.
After the collapse of the USSR, Putin said, Ukraine was taken over by nationalist elites and oligarchs who had "nothing to do with" its independence. At the same time, Putin recalled, Russia continued to work with post-Soviet Ukraine, to act in an "open and honest manner with respect to Ukraine's interests," including through growing trade cooperation, which reached tens of billions of dollars by the early 2010s.

NATO Danger

Putin suggested Ukrainian radicals backed by US forces took advantage of popular anger over corruption in 2014 to stage a coup, with the country's current 'patriotic' authorities leading the country toward desovereignization and total subservience to the West, while marginalizing the Russian-speaking community, undermining the rights of Orthodox believers, and posing a danger to Russia's security.
Putin accused the current authorities in Ukraine of seeking to drag other countries into a war with Russia. "We have also heard statements about Ukraine threatening to create a nuclear weapon," he noted. The Russian president suggested this was not an "idle threat," with Ukraine possessing Soviet-era nuclear and delivery technology to build such a weapon. "We cannot help but react to this real threat," he warned. Putin added that Moscow could not exclude the danger of Ukraine receiving assistance from the West in building a nuke, given the billions of dollars in military assistance already sent to Ukraine by NATO nations.
Putin warned that Ukraine's entry into the Western alliance would constitute a "direct threat" to Russia's security, and that the alliance's training centers already established in the country amount to military bases - something illegal under Ukraine's own Constitution.
Putin recalled that despite posing no threat to the Western alliance after the Cold War, Russia has received five waves of NATO expansion - despite promises in the early 1990s not to do so. "They just lied to us," he said.
The Russian president also pointed to the deployment of dual-use US missile defence systems in Eastern Europe which can be used to strike targets deep inside Russia, and said the military threat to Moscow will increase "manyfold" as the number of these systems inevitably grows. He added that the deployment of NATO radar equipment in Ukraine would allow them to effectively control airspace inside Russia.

Security Guarantee Proposals Ignored

Putin recalled the security guarantee proposals laid out by Russia in December, but said that unfortunately, the West has rejected them and threatened to introduce new sanctions and otherwise attempt "to contain the development of Russia."
Earlier Monday, speaking an emergency session of the Russian Security Council in the Kremlin, Putin said that the negotiations process on the Donbass has reached a dead-end.
He also specified that the discussion on the future of the self-proclaimed republics was about recognizing them as independent states, not a matter of their becoming part of Russia.
Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament, asked Putin to to consider the parliamentary appeal approved last week to recognize the DPR and LNR as independent states. The lawmaker pointed out that over 1.2 million residents of the Donbass have already applied for Russian citizenship.

For her part, Valentina Matviyenko, chairwoman of the Federation Council - Russia's upper house of parliament, said the time had come to make a decision on the Donbass, and called the situation in the region a "humanitarian disaster and genocide" in the heart of Europe. She noted that throughout the 7+ year conflict, Russia has consistently stood in favour of a diplomatic and political solution to the conflict.

"No one listened to us. There was an imitation of the Minsk Agreements," she said. At the same time, the chairwoman accused the West of trying to push Russians and Ukrainians, two fraternal Slavic peoples, into a war.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin expressed support for the measure, saying it would be appropriate in the absence of any progress on the Minsk Agreements. He added that officials have spent some time preparing for the West's potential reaction to a Russian recognition of the Donbass, with these risks said to be accounted for.

Later Monday, in connection with the comments made by officials at the Russian Security Council meeting, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared that he has carried out urgent consultations with President Emmanuel Macron of France and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and called a meeting of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine.

Putin also spoke with Macron and Scholz, telling them he intends to sign a decree on Donbass. According to the Kremlin, the French and German leaders expressed 'disappointment'.

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