05:56 GMT23 January 2021
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    The Kremlin spokesman commented on the possibility of Russia recognizing Donbass republics following President Vladimir Putin's decree giving a legal status to the documents of the republics' citizens.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Saturday, Putin signed a decree to recognize in Russia documents issued to Ukrainian citizens and persons without citizenship living in certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine, until the situation in these areas is politically settled.

    "The question is incorrect, because in this situation, any eventual reasoning is completely irrelevant and inapplicable. The de facto situation is that the two unrecognized republics of the DPR and LPR are territories really not recognized by the Russian Federation, not recognized by Ukraine, but they are in a severe blockade on the part of Ukraine," Peskov said.

    Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the recognition of the documents does not contradict the Minsk agreements on the settlement of the situation in Donbass.

    Russia's move "corresponds not only to the spirit and purposes, but also to the letter of the Minsk agreements, which directly indicate the need to solve all humanitarian problems of this part of Donbass," Lavrov said during a press conference after talks with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström.

    On Monday, Peskov said Putin made the decision considering the dire humanitarian situation in Donbass.

    The Donbass conflict erupted in April 2014 as a local counter-reaction to the West-sponsored Maidan coup in Kiev that had toppled legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych in February. Residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held independence referendums and proclaimed the People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Kiev has since been conducting a military operation, encountering stiff local resistance.

    In February 2015, Kiev forces and Donbass independence supporters signed a peace agreement in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in Donbass, as well as constitutional reforms that would give a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. Despite the agreement, the ceasefire regime is regularly violated, with both sides accusing each other of multiple breaches, undermining the terms of the accord.

    After the eruption of the crisis, over a million of Donbass residents applied for a refugee status and temporary shelter in Russia. According to Russia's Federal Migration Service, more than 1 million people fled to Russia following the outbreak of the civil war in Ukraine, of whom approximately 600,000 decided to settle there permanently.


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