ukraine: Explainer: What will Russian recognition of breakaway Ukraine regions mean?

ukraine: Explainer: What will Russian recognition of breakaway Ukraine regions mean?


WASHINGTON: Russian President Vladimir Putin told French and German leaders on Monday that he planned to sign a decree recognizing the two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine as independent.
Here’s a look at the effects of the larger crisis, with the United States saying Russia could be ready to invade Ukraine with 190,000 troops near its neighbor’s border.
What are the isolated regions?
Russian-backed separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions – collectively known as Donbass – came out of control of the Ukrainian government in 2014 and declared themselves an independent “people’s republic” until recognized. Since then, Ukraine says about 15,000 people have been killed in the war. Russia has denied any involvement in the conflict, but has backed separatists in a number of ways, including secret military assistance, financial assistance, the supply of the Covid-19 vaccine and the issue of at least 800,000 Russian passports to residents. Moscow has always denied plans to invade Ukraine.
What does Russian recognition mean?
For the first time, Russia says it does not consider Donbass part of Ukraine. Using the argument that it is intervening as an ally to protect them against Ukraine could pave the way for Moscow to send troops to openly separatist areas. Alexander Borodai, a Russian member of parliament and former Donetsk political leader, told Reuters last month that separatists would then look to Russia to help them take control of parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions that are still under Ukrainian control. That, in turn, could lead to open military confrontation between Russia and Ukraine.
What about Minsk The peace process?
Russia’s recognition effectively shuts down the 2014-15 Minsk Peace Accords, which, although still unrealistic, are still seen by all parties, including Moscow, as the best opportunity for a solution. The agreement calls for greater autonomy for the two regions inside Ukraine.
How will the West react?
Western governments have lined up for months to warn Moscow that any military action across the Ukrainian border would be met with harsh sanctions, including tough financial sanctions.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said last week that the recognition would “further undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, violate international law, (and) further question Russia’s stated commitment to diplomacy to achieve a peaceful solution.”
He said it would require a “quick and firm” response from the United States and its allies.
Has Russia recognized isolated states before?
Yes – it recognized the independence of Georgia’s two breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia after a brief war with Georgia in 2008. It has provided them with massive budget support, extended Russian citizenship to their population, and deployed thousands of troops there.
What are the advantages and disadvantages for Moscow?
In the case of Georgia, Russia used the recognition of isolated territories to justify its open military presence in the neighboring former Soviet republic in an attempt to thwart NATO’s aspirations indefinitely by denying it complete control of its own territory. The same consideration would apply to Ukraine.
On the negative side, Moscow has faced sanctions and international condemnation for abandoning the Minsk process after a long-standing commitment. It will be blamed indefinitely for the two regions devastated by the eight-year war and in need of extensive economic assistance.

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