Russian President Vladimir Putin will recognise the independence of eastern Ukraine’s separatist republics, the Kremlin said in a statement Monday, adding that he had informed the French and German leaders of his decision. “In the near future, the president plans to sign the order,” the Kremlin said, in a statement published before an anticipated national address from Putin, news agency AFP reported. It added that French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had “expressed disappointment” over the decision in phone calls with Putin. “At the same time, they indicated their readiness to continue contacts,” the Kremlin said. France and Germany are mediators in the conflict between Kyiv and pro-Russia rebels in eastern Ukraine.
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Ukrainian soldiers report intensified front-line shelling, fear ‘provocations’
Government troops in front-line trenches in Ukraine’s east said on Monday heavy weapons fire from Russian-backed separatists had intensified to provoke all-out conflict amid fears of Russia seeking a pretext for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported. Ukrainian troops have battled Russian-backed forces in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions bordering Russia since 2014 in a conflict that Ukraine’s leadership says has killed 15,000 people. A ceasefire deal in 2015 staunched the worst fighting, but shelling has intensified along the “line of contact” since last week as Russia has massed forces along Ukraine’s borders.
The Kremlin said Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was planning to recognise two rebel regions of Ukraine as independent, a move that could set off a potentially catastrophic conflict with Kyiv’s Western-backed government. In a statement after Putin spoke to the French and German leaders, the Kremlin said Putin had informed them of requests from authorities in the breakaway regions and from Russian lawmakers for Moscow to grant recognition. “In the near future, the president plans to sign the order,” the statement said, adding that France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Olaf Scholz “expressed disappointment” over the decision in the phone calls.
Macron calls defence council meeting over Ukraine
French President Emmanuel Macron has convened his country’s defence and security council for a meeting Monday to assess the situation in Ukraine, his office said. The gathering of the council, headed by Macron and featuring a small number of key ministers, comes after the Kremlin said that Russian President Vladimir Putin would recognise the independence of Ukraine’s eastern breakaway republics, news agency AFP reported.
Kremlin top brass urge Putin to recognise Ukraine rebels: AFP
President Vladimir Putin sat behind a table in the Kremlin Monday as his top officials one by one made impassioned speeches urging him to recognise the independence of east Ukraine’s rebel republics. The highly unusual Kremlin security council meeting was unscheduled, lasting around 90 minutes and was broadcast on state television after it had already taken place. Putin presided behind a grand table, the Russian flag and long blue drapes behind him. His officials sat at a distance across one of the Kremlin’s grand marble-covered rooms. A blue carpet across the hall led up to Putin.
Germany’s Scholz condemns Putin’s threat to recognise Ukraine regions
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned remarks by President Vladimir Putin that Russia could recognise two Kremlin-backed breakaway Ukrainian regions as independent, his office said on Monday, news agency Reuters reported. Scholz’s office said in a statement the German chancellor also told Putin during a phone call that any such move would amount to a “one-sided breach” of the Minsk agreements designed to end a separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Israel moves Kyiv embassy to Lviv: Foreign Ministry
Israel is moving its embassy in Kiev to Lviv in western Ukraine, the foreign ministry said Monday in a statement. Several Western countries have also transferred diplomats from Kiev to Lviv, located near the border with Poland, in anticipation of Russian military action. “Following a situation assessment… Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has decided to instruct staff at the Israeli embassy in Kiev to move to consular offices opened in the city of Lviv in western Ukraine,” the ministry said in a statement, AFP reported.
UN warns against ‘unilateral action’ that could undermine Ukraine
The United Nations on Monday urged all parties to refrain from taking “unilateral action” that would undermine Ukraine’s territorial integrity, minutes before Russia announced that President Vladimir Putin will recognize Ukraine’s rebel territories as independent. “We would encourage everyone involved to refrain from any unilateral decision or unilateral action that could undermine the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, AFP reported.
EU sanctions ‘on table’ if Putin recognises Ukraine separatists
The European Union will move to impose sanctions on Russia should President Vladimir Putin recognise Ukraine’s separatist territories as independent, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Monday. “We call upon President Putin to respect international law and the Minsk agreements and expect him not to recognise the independence of Lugansk and Donetsk oblasts,” Borrell said after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, AFP reported.
Russia’s next move amid Ukraine crisis
“In the near future, the president plans to sign the order,” the Kremlin said. It added that French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had “expressed disappointment” over the decision in phone calls with Putin, news agency AFP reported.
Putin to recognise 2 separatist areas in Ukraine as independent nations
Russian President Vladimir Putin will recognise the independence of eastern Ukraine’s separatist republics, the Kremlin said in a statement Monday, adding that he had informed the French and German leaders of his decision.