Putin comments on borders of Donbass republics

Moscow has recognized the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk with their borders as specified in their constitutions, Russian President Vladimir Putin clarified

Moscow has recognized the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk with the borders they’ve had as regions of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters at a press conference at the Kremlin on Tuesday.

We have recognized them, which means that we recognize their basic documents, including their constitutions. Those constitutions set the boundaries as those of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions from the time they were a part of Ukraine,” Putin told reporters after a meeting with his counterpart from Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.

Earlier, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko had said that Moscow would respect the borders of the two republics according to where local leaders exercised authority and jurisdiction. About half of the territory that had been part of both regions before the split effectively remains under the control of Ukrainian government troops.

Meanwhile, the upper house of the Russian parliament has authorized the deployment of Russian troops abroad “in accordance with the principles and norms of international law.” 

The resolution did not impose any specific limits on the use of the military, with the number of troops, as well as “the areas of their activity, their goals, and length of stay outside Russia” to be decided by the president “in accordance with the Constitution.”

Putin recognized the two breakaway republics as sovereign nations on Monday, and asked the Russian Ministry of Defense to deploy peacekeepers into both Donetsk and Lugansk in order to provide for their security. No troops have been sent so far, however. Putin told reporters not to assume the military will move in today.

The two republics declared their autonomy from Ukraine in 2014, in the wake of the Maidan revolution, when violent street demonstrations overthrew the elected government. Kiev has long insisted the separatists in the region are Russian-backed – an accusation Moscow has denied.

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