February 21 Live News: Putin Recognizes Separatist Regions; sanctions plans in the United States and the United Kingdom; UK government relaxes Covid measures


Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing the sovereignty of the people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, which border Russia, advancing Moscow’s conflict with Ukraine and the West.

“I think it is necessary to take the long-considered decision: to immediately recognize the sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic,” Putin said after an almost hour-long televised speech at the nation.

The move has raised tensions with the West amid a month-long crisis, with Russia deploying troops to Ukraine’s border and the West preparing sanctions against the country in the event of an invasion.

Putin justified his decision on Monday evening with history going back to the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union, the expansion of NATO and the threat it poses to Russia if it is allowed to strike from the Ukraine. He also said that the peoples of the self-declared republics in 2014, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, deserved this recognition.

He said Russia had done everything to preserve Ukraine’s territorial integrity through the Minsk agreements, but said those in power, “who have taken the path of violence, the outpouring of blood, anarchy, have never accepted any other decision on the Donbass, except for a military one”. he said referring to the area.

Putin also warned his own nation of a potential threat from the possible entry of NATO and Ukraine into the alliance, as relations between Russia and the West “continue to deteriorate” and that “Ukraine has fallen under Western control”.

“They keep blackmailing us. They are threatening us with sanctions, which I believe they will introduce anyway, as Russian sovereignty strengthens and the power of our military forces increases,” Putin said.


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