Ukraine urges int'l talks over Russia's decision on Donetsk, Luhansk
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said early on Tuesday that Kiev has been urging the international community to hold emergency talks over Russia's decision on the status of Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine has been calling for an emergency summit of the Normandy Format, a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, and a special meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to address the issue, Zelensky said in a video address to the nation published on Facebook.
"The latest actions of the Russian Federation are a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state. Russia is solely responsible for the consequences of such decisions," Zelensky said.
That Moscow recognized Luhansk and Donetsk regions as independent entities reflected "Russia's unilateral withdrawal from the Minsk agreements and ignoring the decisions of the Normandy Four," Zelensky said.
Emphasizing that Kiev is committed to a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the ongoing crisis, Zelensky said, "we will not give anything to anyone, and we are sure of that."
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed two decrees recognizing "the Lugansk People's Republic" and "the Donetsk People's Republic" as independent and sovereign states.
At a ceremony held in the Kremlin, Putin also inked the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between Russia and the LPR and the DPR respectively with the heads of the two "republics," a Kremlin statement said.
"I consider it necessary to make a long overdue decision – to immediately recognize the independence and sovereignty of the DPR and the LPR," Putin said in a televised address to the nation.
"Russia has done everything to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine" by fighting for the implementation of 2015 Minsk agreements, but all the efforts ended up in vain, he told the public.
According to Putin, nearly everyday there is Ukrainian shelling of settlements in Donbass and "there is no end in sight."
The crisis of European security occurred due to the eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which has led to the loss of mutual trust with Russia, Putin stressed.
He called it just "a matter of time" for NATO to accept Ukraine as a member state and then build facilities on its territory so that the level of military threats to Russia will rise dramatically.
As Moscow asked the United States and NATO for security guarantees, the Western countries precisely ignored Russia's fundamental concerns and nothing has changed in their position, Putin noted.
The Normandy Format, established in 2014, is a diplomatic group of senior representatives from Ukraine, Germany, Russia and France formed to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The Minsk agreements, reached in September 2014 and February 2015, outline the steps needed to end the conflict between the Ukrainian government troops and local armed groups in Donbass.