Recognition of Ukraine’s separatist regions: Countries close to Russia criticise move

Brussels: A top European Union official says Russia’s recognition of the Ukrainian separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent states and to send troops into the territories is an “act of war.” Didier Reynders, the European Commissioner for Justice, said the 27-nation bloc is ready to implement sanctions against Russia. Speaking to Belgian broadcaster RTBF, Reynders said a unanimous accord from EU member countries is needed for new sanctions to be imposed.

He said the anticipated measures would evolve gradually, depending on Russian actions. The first type would be travel bans against individuals and sanctions against economic entities via the seizing of assets in Europe and abroad.

In addition, Reynders said “it will be necessary to ensure that there are no more imports of goods or services from Russia, such as energy, and that Russia’s global access to financial services is terminated.” “Everything is on the table,” he said, adding member states were discussing how gradual the moves would be and the possibility for diplomacy to ease the conflict.

Greece, which traditionally had friendly ties with Russia, expresses disappointment

Athens: Greece on Tuesday strongly condemned Moscow’s recognition of two separatist republics in Ukraine, as the country’s Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, called an emergency meeting of top government defense and foreign policy officials to discuss the crisis.
“Russia’s recognition of the illegal and unilateral declaration of independence’ of the separatist territories of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine is a clear violation of fundamental principles of international law, Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and the Minsk agreements,” a Foreign Ministry statement said. It added,  “We have repeatedly stressed that Greece is in favor of respect for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of all states and condemns any decision that is contrary to these fundamental principles of international law.” NATO-member Greece has traditionally friendly ties with Russia.

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Committed to a political-diplomatic settlement, won’t succumb to provocations: United Nations

United Nations: Ukraine’s UN Ambassador is demanding that Russia cancel its recognition of the independence of separatist regions in the east, immediately withdraw its “occupation troops” sent there by President Vladimir Putin, and return to negotiations. Sergiy Kyslytsya told an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Monday that Ukraine called the rare evening session to protest and condemn Putin’s “illegal and illegitimate” decision to recognise the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. He said Ukraine’s borders “will remain unchangeable regardless of any statements and actions by the Russian Federation.”

He said Russia’s occupation of Donetsk and Luhansk ruin negotiating frameworks and “may be considered” as Russia’s unilateral withdrawal from the Minsk Agreements aimed at restoring peace to eastern Ukraine. “We are committed to a political-diplomatic settlement and do not succumb to provocations,” Kyslytsya said. While Ukraine has the right to self-defence, he said, “We are committed to a peaceful and diplomatic path and we will stay firmly on it. We are on our land. We are not afraid of anything or anyone. We owe nothing to anyone, and we will not give away anything to anyone.”

Kyslytsya urged the Security Council to support Ukraine and take action to restore international peace and security, but that will be virtually impossible because of Russia’s veto power in the council.

Also read: ‘Leave Ukraine temporarily’: India’s latest advisory for students amid rising tensions

A clear violation of Ukraine’s political unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity: Turkey

Ankara: Turkey criticised Russia’s decision to recognise the independence of two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, describing the move as a “clear violation of Ukraine’s political unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.” A Turkish Foreign Ministry statement early Tuesday said: “We find this decision by Russia unacceptable and reject it.” “We emphasise our commitment to the preservation of Ukraine’s political unity and territorial integrity, and call on all parties to use common sense and comply with international law,” the ministry statement read. NATO-member Turkey has close relations to both Ukraine and Russia and had repeatedly offered to mediate to end the tensions. Separately, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement to “strongly recommend” that Turkish citizens leave Ukraine’s eastern regions.

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