The Russian leader has previously said civilians are being targeted in the war-torn region
As parliamentarians push for the Kremlin to acknowledge the independence of Donetsk and Lugansk, President Vladimir Putin has asserted that fierce fighting that has claimed thousands of lives in eastern Ukraine, a region that is home to a significant population of ethnic Russians, constitutes a genocide.
The Russian leader spoke on the escalating tensions in the war-torn region on Tuesday at a press conference following crucial meetings with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
He continued, “I can only say that what is occurring in Donbass is genocide. When questioned by reporters about how a major peace plan may be affected by the campaign for the recognition of the self-declared Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, Putin responded that it was still feasible to resolve the issues in the region by putting the Minsk agreements into practice.
“We have to do everything to resolve the problem of Donbass, but do it first and foremost based on the possibility of implementing the Minsk agreements,” he explained, adding that he hoped Berlin and Paris would be able to encourage Kiev to fulfill their side of the deal.
The possibility of Donetsk and Lugansk being recognized, however, alarmed Scholz, who claimed that doing so would go against procedure and result in a “political catastrophe.”
Putin made his comments shortly after the parliament of his nation’s MPs passed a resolution that demanded Putin recognize the independence of the two regions. The resolution had initially been proposed by the Communist Party. The action, according to MPs, would establish the foundation for securing assurances and defending the populace, which is dominated by ethnic Russians, from external dangers.
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Following the events of the Maidan, when Ukraine’s government was overthrown as a result of violent public protests, Donetsk and Lugansk declared their independence from Kiev in 2014. But as of right now, neither Russia nor Ukraine acknowledge their independence.
The Kremlin disputes Kiev’s allegations that Moscow is supporting the Donbass separatists, and Kiev has condemned Moscow for providing more than 500,000 passports to residents of that country.
At a meeting of the Russian Council for Civil Society and Human Rights in December of last year, Putin claimed that what was happening in the two districts was “quite suggestive” of ethnic cleansing. Putin asserts that “Russophobia” is the precursor to genocide. According to UN estimates, at than 13,000 civilians have died in the conflict, including children and senior citizens.
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By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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