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Russian State Duma backs resolution calling for recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk ‘people’s republics’

On Tuesday, February 15, Russian lawmakers voted to adopt a resolution that calls on President Vladimir Putin to formally recognize the self-proclaimed “people’s republics” in eastern Ukraine. 

Communist Party lawmakers submitted the motion to the State Duma on January 19. During Tuesday’s session, 351 lawmakers voted in favor of the resolution and 16 voted against it; just one parliamentarian abstained. 

Also under consideration on Tuesday was a similar resolution drafted by lawmakers from United Russia. While it also proposed appealing for the recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics,” the document provided for consultations with the Russian Foreign Ministry before submitting a resolution to Putin. The ruling party’s motion earned just 310 supporting votes.

Following the voting results, State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin stated that the motion appealing to the president to recognize the “republics” would be sent to Vladimir Putin immediately after it was signed. 

Update. Later in the day on Tuesday, Putin commented on the resolution during a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “We should do everything [possible] to resolve the Donbas problems, but do this in the way the Federal Chancellor spoke about, primarily, based on the not fully realized opportunities for the implementation of the Minsk agreements,” Putin said. In turn, Scholz underscored that Russia recognizing the Donbas republics would violate the Minsk agreements and bring about a “political disaster.”

The Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) declared independence from Ukraine in 2014. However, they have only been recognized by South Ossetia — a breakaway state in the South Caucasus.

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