MOSCOW – President Vladimir V. Putin has worried the world with speculation about whether he plans to invade Ukraine, announcing on Monday that he will decide by the end of the day whether to recognize the independence of the two countries. Ukraine’s breakaway regions or not.
With Russian state media churning out a flurry of unsubstantiated reports about Ukraine’s aggression – something US officials have warned Moscow would use as an excuse to intervene militarily – Mr. Security Council teleconference to declare that a peace deal for the Russian-backed breakaway territories is dead.
His subordinates, all pro-recognition, used the meeting to blame the United States for the escalation of tensions. However, the Russian foreign minister said he was ready to meet his US counterpart for talks this week in Geneva.
America’s goal in its foreign policy, including in Ukraine, is “the collapse of the Russian Federation,” said Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Putin’s Security Council. “Ukrainian people oppose this,” Mr. Patrushev said of the country’s pro-Western path. “They’re scared, they’re forced to walk this path.”
The United States and its allies fear that if Moscow recognizes these two regions, in the region known as the Donbas, it could open the door for Russia to deploy more forces into Ukraine. US officials estimate that Russia has amassed 190,000 troops in and around Ukraine, including in the Donbas, where protracted fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed rebels has flared in recent days. this.
Stressing the possibility that he might recognize the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic as independent states, Putin mocked his foreign intelligence chief, Sergei Naryshkin when he He appeared embarrassed on the matter, causing Mr. Naryshkin to stutter and then say that he was in favor of the annexation of territories.
Entering the twilight of his political career, Mr Putin, 69, is determined to burn through his legacy and repair what he has long considered one of the greatest catastrophes of the 20th century: the disintegration of the former Soviet Union. Asserting Moscow’s authority over Ukraine, a country of 44 million people formerly part of the bloc and sharing a 1,200-mile border with Russia, is part of his aim to restore what he sees as a Russia’s legitimate position among world powers, the United States and China.
By signaling that he could recognize the two breakaway regions, Mr. Putin continued to put pressure on Russia’s smaller neighbour. His efforts were helped on Monday when Belarus suggested that Russian forces deployed there for exercises could remain indefinitely.
The announcement that he was willing to consider discussing the possibility of recognition of the two areas came after United States said Such a move would be a violation of a peace agreement with the self-declared territories.
Mr. Putin, speaking at the start of the Security Council meeting, said “it is clear to all that this series of measures will not be implemented in any way,” he said, referring to the settlement. peace, known as the Minsk agreements. However, he said Russia was trying to “solve all the complicated problems”.
Putin said the Security Council would also consider next steps regarding his request for “security guarantees” from the United States and its allies, such as withdrawing the presence of the United States. NATO in Eastern Europe and legally binding commitments bar Ukraine from joining. League.
The United States has described key Russian requests as intermittent, but has expressed a willingness to discuss other security issues, such as missile placement.
Russia has tried to portray itself as a defender of ethnic Russians living in both breakaway territories, but the US and its allies accuse Moscow of looking for a pretext for a possible invasion of Ukraine.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/21/world/europe/putin-says-he-will-consider-recognizing-the-independence-of-two-separatist-territories-in-ukraine.html Putin said that Russia would decide on Monday whether to recognize the breakaway regions.