Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 21 said that Russia recognizes the independence of the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine, which some Western officials say will give Moscow the pretext to send in troops.
Putin, in a lengthy speech, said he will “immediately recognize the sovereignty” of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics. On Feb. 21, the leaders of the two areas, which make up much of the Donbas, requested that Putin recognize their independence from Ukraine.
Before, in his speech, Putin suggested that Ukraine isn’t a real country and believes that it’s “ancient Russian lands.” The modern Ukrainian state, he alleged, was created by Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin, who ultimately separated Ukraine from the imperial Russian empire.
“Ukraine is not just a neighboring country for us, Ukraine is a part of our cultural space,” Putin said, suggesting that the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union saw Russia get “robbed” of Ukraine. Now Ukraine is a “U.S. colony” with a “puppet regime” in charge, he said.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in response, said Putin’s declaration that he recognizes the two regions as independent is a breach of international law.
“Plainly what has happened is extremely bad news. … We will be talking to our allies urgently,” Johnson told reporters at a Feb. 21 news conference.
The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, called on Moscow not to make the decision and argued that it could be a precursor for Russia to annex the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
“If there is annexation, there will be sanctions, and if there is recognition, I will put the sanctions on the table and the ministers will decide,” Borrell said.
Hours before his announcement, Putin convened his Security Council to consider whether to approve requests by Russian-backed forces in Donetsk and Luhansk to recognize their sovereignty.
Dmitry Medvedev, the council’s deputy chairman, told the meeting it was “obvious” Ukraine didn’t need the two regions, and that a majority of Russians would support their independence. Russia already offers passports to residents of the two regions, and Medvedev said there were now 800,000 Russian citizens there.
Both separatist-controlled areas are on the border with Russia in eastern Ukraine. They’re described by separatist leaders as the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic.
Russia’s Duma passed the appeals from the leaders to Putin earlier this month.
At the time, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Kremlin approval of the requests “would amount to the Russian government’s wholesale rejection of its commitments under the Minsk agreements, which outline the process for the full political, social, and economic reintegration of those parts of Ukraine’s Donbas region controlled by Russia-led forces and political proxies since 2014.”
Blinken said approval would undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty, violate international law, and call into question Russia’s motives.
Russian officials have said they don’t plan to invade Ukraine as Western officials have accused them of massing more than 100,000 troops near the border with their neighbor. Purported video footage shot near the Ukraine-Russia border areas have shown large columns of tanks, artillery, and troops in recent weeks.
“We have our legitimate right to have our troops where we want on Russian territory,” Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the United States, said in a CBS News broadcast. “And I would like to say you that we are not a threaten [sic] to anybody.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Feb. 21 said on Twitter that everyone should “calmly focus on de-escalation efforts” despite emotionally charged rhetoric.
Putin may meet with U.S. President Joe Biden after Blinken convenes with his counterpart on Feb. 24, according to the White House, but Russia has described it as “premature” to discuss the potential meeting.
U.S. officials say the meetings won’t be held if Russia invades Ukraine. Ukrainian officials, meanwhile, said they have to be involved in negotiations.
“No one can resolve our issue without us,” top security official Oleksiy Danilov told a briefing on Feb. 21.
In Washington, Biden summoned his top security advisers. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and General Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, could be seen entering the White House on the President’s Day holiday, according to Reuters.
Have you received Salvation from Jesus the Messiah? Time is running out. Jesus will return very soon. The signs of His return are everywhere in this crazy world we are living in. Please read below so that you can be saved. Jesus is the only way to Heaven. The Words below are directly from the Bible, so you can trust them.
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all )is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. IF YOU KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. (John 15:9)
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
For those of us who persevere and do what Jesus says to do, we have this to look forward to in eternity: And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
The Bible – New King James Version, NKJV