Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing the independence of two separatist regions: Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine as independent states.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that he will recognize the independence of two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine as the possibility of a Russian invasion of Ukraine looms.
Following a nearly hour-long address to the Russian nation, Putin signed a decree recognizing the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states.
“I deem it necessary to make a decision that should have been made a long time ago to immediately recognize the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic,” Putin said.
Map of Ukraine (green) and Donetsk People’s Republic (black) and Luhansk People’s Republic (brown)
Earlier Monday, during a presidential Security Council meeting in the Kremlin, several top Russian officials argued that they supported recognizing the independence of the two separatist regions in the eastern province of Donbas.
During Putin’s lengthy televised speech — translated live by the Russian state-owned network RT — Putin accused Ukraine of being a “puppet” regime to the United States.
“And from those who seized and hold power in Kyiv, we demand an immediate cessation of hostilities,” Putin said, “Otherwise, all responsibility for the possible continuation of the bloodshed will be entirely on the conscience of the regime ruling on the territory of Ukraine.”
Putin called Ukraine “not just a neighboring country,” but also “an inherent part of our history” with “blood and family ties” during the speech, according to the RT translation.
“Modern Ukraine was completely created by Russia,” Putin said
People in Donetsk and Luhansk react in a street as fireworks explode in the sky after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognizes their independence on February 21, 2022
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a tweet at the end of Putin’s speech that he has discussed “the events of the last hours” with US President Joe Biden and was beginning a meeting with the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.
A Biden official told CNN that the president’s phone call with Zelensky lasted for about 35 minutes.
Zelensky said in his tweet that he also planned to speak with Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Donetsk People’s Republic
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement shared with Insider that the Biden administration had “anticipated” Putin’s announcement.
“President Biden will soon issue an Executive Order that will prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by U.S. persons to, from, or in the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine,” she said. “This E.O. will also provide authority to impose sanctions on any person determined to operate in those areas of Ukraine.”
An old man holds the official flag of Donetsk People’s Republic
Meanwhile, the Kremlin said on the president’s website that Putin had spoken with French President Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz about his decision to recognize the independence of two separatist regions in Ukraine.
“The president of France and the Federal Chancellor of Germany expressed their disappointment with this development,” the Kremlin said in a statement. “At the same time, they indicated their readiness to continue contacts.”
Putin’s announcement comes as United States officials have warned that Russia was creating a “false flag” campaign to justify invading Ukraine.
Luhansk People’s Republic
Joe Biden said on Friday that he is “convinced” Putin would launch an attack on Ukraine in the coming days.
“As of this moment, I’m convinced he’s made the decision. We have reason to believe that,” Biden said at a press conference, adding, “We believe that they will target Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million innocent people.”
Joe Biden also accused Russia of pushing disinformation “to set up a false justification to act against Ukraine.”
A girl holding the unofficial flag of Luhansk People’s Republic