scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Sunday, August 07, 2022

Putin, in fiery speech, says he will recognise separatists in Ukraine

By seeking to force Ukraine back into Moscow’s orbit, Putin is attempting to upend the security structure that has helped maintain an uneasy peace on the continent for the past three decades.

By: New York Times | Moscow |
Updated: February 22, 2022 7:23:37 am
Ukrainians in a shelter beneath a residential building after hearing that separatists had returned to their artillery positions in the village of Vrubivka, Ukraine. (Lynsey Addario/The New York Times) — NO SALES

President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Monday delivered an emotional and aggrieved address laying claim to all of Ukraine as a country “created by Russia,” recognising the independence of two Russian-backed territories in eastern Ukraine and threatening the government of Ukraine that the bloodshed could continue.

The White House responded by saying that President Joe Biden would begin imposing limited economic sanctions on the two separatist regions, stopping short of imposing any penalties directly on Russia for now but vowing that more would come. Leaders of the European Union also condemned Putin’s move and said they would impose sanctions on those involved.

Immediately after the speech, state television showed Putin at the Kremlin signing decrees recognising the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, which were created after Russia fomented a separatist war in eastern Ukraine in 2014. Putin also signed “friendship and mutual assistance” treaties, raising the possibility that Russia could move some of the forces it has built up around Ukraine’s borders into those territories.

Putin’s speech laid out such a broad case against Ukraine — describing its pro-Western government as a dire threat to Russia and to Russians — that he appeared to be laying the groundwork to take action beyond simply recognising two small breakaway republics.

Ukrainian soldiers at a front line position, which has come under recent mortar attack, in Novozvanivka, Ukrainence. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times)

“As for those who captured and are holding on to power in Kyiv: We demand that they immediately cease military action,” Putin said at the end of his nearly hourlong speech, referring to the Ukrainian capital. “If not, the complete responsibility for the possibility of a continuation of bloodshed will be fully and wholly on the conscience of the regime ruling the territory of Ukraine.”

It was a thinly veiled threat against the government of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which denies responsibility for the escalating shelling on the front line between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists in recent days. Russian state television has broadcast extensive reports claiming that Ukraine is preparing an offensive against the separatist territories — claims that Kyiv denies.

Children in a shelter beneath a residential building after hearing that separatists had returned to their artillery positions in the village of Vrubivka. (Lynsey Addario/The New York Times)

By seeking to redraw the post-Cold War boundaries of Europe and force Ukraine back into Moscow’s orbit, Putin is attempting nothing less than to upend the security structure that has helped maintain an uneasy peace on the continent for the past three decades.

Putin’s speech began with an extensive recitation of his historical grievances, starting with claims that Ukraine owes its statehood to the Soviet Union.

“Modern-day Ukraine was in full and in whole created by Russia, Bolshevik, Communist Russia to be precise,” he said.

Ukrainian soldiers in front of a roadside crater left by a mortar explosion at a front line position, which has come under recent mortar attack, in Novozvanivka. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times)

Not only was Ukraine rejecting its shared past with Russia, he said, but it was enabling American ambitions of weakening Russia by aspiring to membership in the NATO alliance.

“Why was it necessary to make an enemy out of us?” Putin said, repeating his long-held grievances about NATO’s eastward expansion. “They didn’t want such a large, independent country as Russia. In this lies the answer to all questions.”

Beyond his intensive history lesson — which would be disputed by many Ukrainians, who see themselves as a separate country with their own identity — the Russian president said little about his next steps. And, he did not address the fact that the separatist “people’s republics” claim about three times as much territory as they currently control.

Subscriber Only Stories
No victim-blaming, no fetishising of abuse: Darlings shows why we need mo...Premium
How the Indian action spectacular RRR became a smash in AmericaPremium
5 ways in which Samsung could improve the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Fold 4Premium
Explained: First flight of India’s newest rocket, what it means for...Premium

Some analysts have speculated that Putin could use Russian troops to capture more Ukrainian territory on behalf of those republics. But his veiled threat against Kyiv appeared to signal that he was prepared to threaten Zelenskyy’s government directly — a scenario that American officials have said is a possibility given the size of Putin’s troop buildup to Ukraine’s north, east and south.

TWO IS ALWAYS BETTER | Our two-year subscription package offers you more at less

📣 Join our Telegram channel (The Indian Express) for the latest news and updates

For all the latest World News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard
First published on: 22-02-2022 at 07:15:02 am
0 Comment(s) *
* The moderation of comments is automated and not cleared manually by indianexpress.com.

Featured Stories

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement