Russian parliament to consider recognition of “independence” of occupied Ukrainian territories

Russia’s parliament will consider asking President Vladimir Putin to recognize Moscow-backed militant gangs in the self-proclaimed republic of eastern Ukraine, Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of the State Duma, said on Friday.

The Communists this week submitted a bill to the State Duma calling on Putin to recognize the so-called Lugansk and Donetsk republics, which have been declared in areas controlled by Russian militant gangs in eastern Ukraine.

“One thing is absolutely clear – we need to find a solution to guarantee the security of our citizens and compatriots,” Volodin writes in the Telegram app.

He said the leaders of the parties represented in parliament would discuss the communist initiative next week to decide whether to put it to the vote in plenary.

However, the Speaker of the State Duma added that most factions have already expressed support for the bill proposed by the Communists.

In his post, Volodin once again accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of ignoring the so-called Minsk agreement and said NATO wanted to “occupy” Ukraine.

He added that it would “turn into a tragedy” and that Moscow should not allow it.

In 2014, after the occupation of the Crimean peninsula by Ukraine and the subsequent annexation, Russia invaded mainland Ukraine, occupying large areas of the Donbass.

The agreement reached in 2015 through France and Germany obliges Ukraine to grant extensive autonomy to the territories under the control of Russian gunmen in the east of the country, as well as to guarantee an amnesty for all fighters involved in the war against the Ukrainian army.

The agreement stipulates that Ukraine will regain control of the border with Russia only after the holding of local elections in areas controlled by militant gangs.

These rules, which were imposed on Kiev in the face of a direct military threat from Russia, are in fact unacceptable to Ukraine, because they are effectively destroying its sovereignty, and it is therefore not really possible for parliament to approve the laws needed to enforce them.

In 2019, Putin signed a decree to facilitate the granting of Russian citizenship to the people of these occupied territories of Ukraine, and more than 600,000 people have now been issued Russian passports in Donbass.

Russia is now once again concentrating a troop of 100,000 men on Ukraine’s borders, raising fears of a new invasion of a neighboring country.

In December, Moscow issued an ultimatum to the West demanding a halt to NATO’s further expansion to the east and the dismantling of the Alliance’s infrastructure in the so-called new member states, restoring the status quo on 27 May 1997, before NATO’s first enlargement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened that if Moscow does not receive the “security guarantees” he has demanded, he will have to take “military technical measures”.

The United States and other NATO members have stated that these demands are unacceptable and not even negotiable, but have shown readiness to talk about arms control, missile deployment and confidence-building measures.

However, Moscow insists that the Kremlin’s demands are an indivisible package and acceptable unchanged.

Experts say the Kremlin has put itself in a position where any resignation from the Western ultimatum will be seen as a humiliating defeat for Putin, raising fears that he might decide to go to war.

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