Saturday, April 20, 2024

Putin recognizes Ukraine’s pro-Russia regions’ independence

Moscow has recognized the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics in eastern Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Monday.

The Russian president signed the corresponding documents and asked the Federal Assembly to support the signing of treaties of cooperation with the Donbass breakaways.

“Ukraine is not just a neighbour to us, but an inherent part of our history, culture and spiritual space. They are our comrades…our family, people we have blood and family ties with,” Putin said in a speech Monday night outlining his decision.

“Modern Ukraine was completely created by Russia, more precisely by Communist Russia. This process was started after the 1917 Revolution,” Putin added.

The president suggested that Ukraine saw its territory expand at “historic Russia’s” expense after the Revolution, and at Poland’s expense after the Second World War.

He also recalled that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev cut Crimea off from the Russian Soviet republic’s jurisdiction and handed it over to the Ukrainian Soviet republic in the 1950s.

After the collapse of the USSR, Putin noted, Ukraine was taken over by nationalist elites and oligarchs who had “nothing to do with” its independence.

At the same time, Putin recalled, Russia continued to work with post-Soviet Ukraine, to act in an “open and honest manner with respect to Ukraine’s interests,” including through growing trade cooperation, which reached tens of billions of dollars by the early 2010s.

Putin suggested Ukrainian radicals backed by US forces took advantage of popular anger over corruption in 2014 to stage a coup, with the country’s current ‘patriotic’ authorities leading the country toward desovereignization and total subservience to the West, while marginalizing the Russian-speaking community and undermining the rights of Orthodox believers.

Putin accused the current authorities in Ukraine of seeking to drag other countries into a war with Russia.

“We have also heard statements about Ukraine threatening to create a nuclear weapon,” he noted.

The Russian president suggested this was not an “idle threat,” with Ukraine possessing Soviet-era nuclear and delivery technology to build such a weapon.

“We cannot help but react to this real threat,” he warned.

Putin added that Moscow could not exclude the danger of Ukraine receiving assistance from the West in building a nuke, given the billions of dollars in military assistance already sent to Ukraine by NATO nations.

Putin warned that Ukraine’s entry into the Western alliance would constitute a “direct threat” to Russia’s security, and that the alliance’s training centers already established in the country amount to military bases – something illegal under Ukraine’s own Constitution.

Putin recalled that despite posing no threat to the Western alliance after the Cold War, Russia has received five waves of NATO expansion – despite promises in the early 1990s not to do so.

“They just lied to us,” he said.

The Russian president also pointed to the deployment of dual-use US missile defence systems in Eastern Europe which can be used to strike targets in Russia, and stressed the military threat to Moscow will increase “manyfold” as the number of these systems inevitably grows.

He announced that the deployment of NATO radar equipment in Ukraine would allow them to effectively control airspace inside Russia.

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