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Reactions as Russia recognizes the independence of Donetsk and Lugansk

International leaders are reacting to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognize the independence of the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donets and Lugansk.

The recognition is “a blatant violation of international law, the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the Minsk agreements. The EU and its partners will react with unity, firmness and with determination in solidarity with Ukraine,” President of EU Council Josep Borrell said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “This further undermines Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, erodes efforts towards a resolution of the conflict, and violates the Minsk Agreements, to which Russia is a party.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the recognition “a flagrant violation of the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine” and “a repudiation of the Minsk process and the Minsk agreements.”

The White House says US President Joe Biden is to prohibit “new investment, trade, and financing by US persons to, from, or in” the two regions recognized by President Putin.

French President Emmanuel Macron has condemned Putin’s decision, describing it as “clearly a unilateral violation of Russia’s international commitments and an attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty.” He calls for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council as well as the adoption of targeted European sanctions.

Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić has said the recognition “is in violation of international law and represents a unilateral breach of the Minsk agreements – which remain the only basis for a settlement of the conflict in Donbas.”

The UN Secretary-General is greatly concerned by the decision by the Russian Federation related to the status of Donetsk and Lugansk, Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said in a statement.

The Secretary-General “urges all relevant actors to focus their efforts on ensuring an immediate cessation of hostilities, protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure, preventing any actions and statements that may further escalate the dangerous situation in and around Ukraine and prioritizing diplomacy to address all issues peacefully.”

OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said “it runs counter OSCE commitments as well as Minsk agreements and undermines the Organization’s involvement in a peaceful settlement of the conflict. The negative impact on OSCE’s future cannot be overlooked.”

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