International recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics

The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) are disputed territories in Donbas. The central government of Ukraine regards the republics as being under terrorist control.

International recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics

Both declared independence from Ukraine following an unofficial status referendum in May 2014. Shortly thereafter, both self-proclaimed states merged to form the short-lived confederation of Novorossiya which was suspended a year later. Also in 2014, South Ossetia, a similar breakaway separatist republic (from Georgia), recognized the independence of both states. On 21 February 2022, the two republics were recognized as independent states by the Russian Federation, followed by the breakaway state Abkhazia – a separatist republic (from Georgia) four days later.

International recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk People's RepublicsThe area held by the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic

History and current state

In November 2014, representatives of Novorossiya sent a request for diplomatic recognition to several Latin American states, including Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. None of the states answered the request. In May 2015, the confederation of Novorossiya was dissolved.

International recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk People's RepublicsVladimir Putin signs decrees recognizing the DPR and LPR and treaties of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance, 21 February 2022

The territory controlled by the two republics is internationally recognized as parts of Ukraine by 192 of 193 member states of the United Nations, Russia being the lone exception. The Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics have only received international recognition from each other, from Russia, and from South Ossetia (which itself is only recognized by 5 of the 193 UN member states).

On 15 February 2022, the Russian State Duma voted to ask President Vladimir Putin to recognize the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics in Ukraine as independent nations. The bill was proposed by the Communist Party.

On 21 February 2022, the State Duma of Russia passed a bill to officially recognize the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic in Eastern Ukraine as independent states. The bill was approved by President Vladimir Putin. On the same day, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees recognizing the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic, and also signed agreements on friendship, cooperation, and assistance with the republics.

International recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk People's RepublicsThe Donbas status referendums in May 2014 were not officially recognized by the Ukrainian government or any UN member state

A poll released by the independent Levada Center found that 45% of Russians backed Russia’s recognition of the separatist-controlled Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.

State Duma deputy Mikhail Matveev voted in favor of the recognition of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk but later denounced the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, stating “I voted for peace, not for war. I wanted Russia to become a shield so that Donbas would not be bombed, not for Kyiv to be bombed.

Positions taken by states

International recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics

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