Putin’s new move in the Ukrainian match, which passes through Donetsk and Lugansk

from Andrea Marinelli

The Duma voted for the recognition of Donetsk and Lugansk: the resolution, which arrived at the same time as the withdrawal of some troops along the border, is not binding but raises the tension. What appears to be a further escalation of the Ukrainian crisis, however, could represent a way out for Putin

Deputies of the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, have approved one resolution calling on President Vladimir Putin to recognize the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Lugansk and Donetskin the Donbass, which declared independence from Ukraine in 2014 and which are controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

The resolution, which arrived at the same time as the announcement of the withdrawal of some troops along the Ukrainian border, is non-binding and will be evaluated by Putin, but it raises the tension with Ukraine and the West in a crisis already on the verge of exploding into open war: as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken explained in recent days, it would not be surprising if Moscow used an accident as a pretext for invasion. Russia’s recognition of self-proclaimed breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine would amount to a violation of international lawcommented NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, explaining that it would constitute a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, and of the Minsk agreements.

The Duma called the recognition of Donetsk and Lugansk morally justified and accused Ukraine of violating the 2015 Minsk agreements, a ceasefire that provides for the autonomous return of the separatist regions under Kiev’s control and the withdrawal of pro-Russian forces, in fact never implemented. The Duma expresses its unequivocal support for these measures taken for humanitarian reasons, to support residents of certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions who have expressed a desire to speak and write in Russian, who want to respect the freedom of religion, who disagree with the actions taken by the Ukrainian authorities that violate their freedoms and rights, reads the appeal presented by the party Communist.

In this way, Russia withdraws de facto And de jure from the Minsk agreements, with the consequences of the case, Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba commented after the vote. For the experts, however, the vote of the Duma does not bring with it the approval of the Kremlin, nor does it mean that the resolution will advance. I cannot answer this question, said Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov in the morning. He knows that no official decision has been made. The people’s representatives reflect for the opinion of the people, and we treat the matter with great care, he added. According to Konstantin Skorkin, Donbass expert at Carnegie Moscow Center, the vote of the Duma is primarily a propaganda maneuver. The Minsk agreements, he explained to Moscow Timesthey benefit Russia more than Ukraine, but it is important for Moscow to show Kiev that it could abandon them if necessary.

What appears to be a further escalation of the Ukrainian crisis, however, could represent a way out: in this way, in fact, the leader of the Kremlin could start the withdrawal of the troops deployed on the border with Ukraine without however appearing defeated. This solution would lead to the failure of the Minsk 2 agreements, but would open a new scenario which, as Anna Zafesova wrote on the Presscould, under certain conditions, satisfy all: Putin he would retain his reputation as a tough and unpredictable leader; its supporters they would be pleased to have wrested another piece of the old Soviet Union from Ukraine; Kiev he would see the chances of joining NATO fade away but he would collect solidarity and, above all, Western aid (already announced by the United States, Canada and the European Union on Tuesday morning); the West it would have avoided a conflict in Europe and could limit itself to imposing less severe sanctions. This scenario would however represent a blow for Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky and for the citizens of the two separatist republics, as well as for France and Germany who had sponsored the Minsk agreement.

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