Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Monday that he would recognize the independence of the two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine that are controlled by separatists.
“Today, the leadership of the [Donetsk People’s Republic] and [Luhansk People’s Republic] received appeals to recognize their sovereignty in connection with the military aggression of the Ukrainian authorities, massive shelling of the territory of Donbas, as a result of which the civilian population suffers,” the Kremlin said in a statement. “With all this in mind, the President of Russia said that he intended to sign a corresponding decree in the near future.”
Putin said during a press conference, “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 the Luhansk People’s Republic.”
The New York Times reported:
Immediately after the speech, state television showed Mr. Putin at the Kremlin signing decrees recognizing the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, which were created after Russia fomented a separatist war in eastern Ukraine in 2014. Mr. Putin also signed “friendship and mutual assistance” treaties, raising the possibility that Russia could move some of the forces it has built up around Ukraine’s borders into those territories.
“As for those who captured and is holding on to power in Kyiv, we demand that they immediately cease military action,” Putin said. “If not, the complete responsibility for the possibility of a continuation of bloodshed will be fully and wholly on the conscience of the regime ruling the territory of Ukraine.”
NOW – Putin: Russia recognizes the independence of breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/K3dSo0e0L0
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) February 21, 2022
The announcement from Putin comes after CBS News reported on Sunday that Russian military units near Ukraine had been given the order to invade.
The report from CBS News come as Putin has amassed approximately 190,000 troops near the Ukraine border, effectively surrounding the country. A U.S. official told reporters on Friday that 40-50% of the up to 190,000 Russian soldiers near Ukraine’s borders are now “in an attack position.”
“The intelligence says that Russian troops have actually received orders now, to proceed with the invasion,” CBS News correspondent David Martin said. “So not only are they moving up closer and closer to the border into these attack positions, but the commanders on the ground are making specific plans for how they would maneuver in their sector of the battlefield.”
“They’re doing everything that American commanders would do once they got the order to proceed,” he added.
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This report has been updated to include additional information.
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