By its decisions to recognize the “independence” of the occupied districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Russia is violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and legalizing its troops in Donbas, which have been there since 2014. This was stated by President Volodymyr Zelensky in an address following a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council.
“Ukraine unequivocally qualifies the recent actions of the Russian Federation as a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state. All responsibility for the consequences of these decisions rests with Russia’s political leadership,” the President stressed.
In addition, he said, recognizing the “independence” of the occupied districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions could mean Russia’s unilateral withdrawal from the Minsk agreements and ignoring decisions within the Normandy Four.
“It undermines peaceful efforts and destroys existing negotiating formats. With today’s and tomorrow’s possible decisions, Russia is legalizing its troops, which have actually been in the occupied areas of Donbas since 2014. A country that has supported the war for eight years cannot support peace, as it claims,” the President of Ukraine said.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that he had discussed the situation with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, US President Joseph Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and European Council President Charles Michel. A phone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is also planned.
He noted that today the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine had sent a request to the member states of the UN Security Council on the basis of the Budapest Memorandum with a request to hold immediate consultations. A meeting of the UN Security Council and a special meeting of the OSCE were also initiated.
“We insist on the full work of the OSCE SMM to prevent provocations and further escalation,” the President said.
In addition, according to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, an emergency convocation of the Normandy Four summit has been initiated.
“We expect clear and effective steps of support from our partners. It is very important to see now who is our true friend and partner, and who will continue to intimidate the Russian Federation with words,” the Head of State stressed.
The President assured that Ukraine is committed to a political-diplomatic settlement and does not give in to provocations.
“We can clearly distinguish between the provocations and the offensive of the aggressor’s troops. The truth is on our side. And we will never hide the truth from you. As soon as we see a change in the situation, as soon as we see an increase in risks – you will know all this. There is currently no reason for chaotic action. We will do everything to keep it that way,” Volodymyr Zelensky said.
The Head of State thanked all the citizens of Ukraine, who once again prove that Ukrainians are a smart and wise nation that keeps a cool head, reacts calmly and prudently despite everything.
“For a long time, we have been ready for everything. But there is no reason for your sleepless night,” the President said.
Putin signed a decree recognizing the areas, this move might justify Russia’s attack in those locations, and an agreement of cooperation with the heads of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic. The militants do not control the entirety of their regions.
Find the reaction of the West here.