Rebels in eastern Ukraine demand Putin recognize regions as independent

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The leaders of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR), on Monday asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to recognize them as independents.

“I ask you to recognize the sovereignty and independence of the Lugansk People’s Republic,” said separatist Leonid Pasechnik in a broadcast video on Russian state television. Denis Pushilin, the rebel head of the DNR, made a similar call.

They also called on Putin to consider signing an agreement on defense cooperation between Russia and rebel-held areas.

Should Russia accept this stepthis could open way for Moscow openly sends military forces in both regions, using the argument that he steps in as an ally to protect them against Ukraine.

According to RIA Novosti, supported by the Russian state media outlet, Pushilin noted that the Ukrainian authorities decided on a forceful solution to the conflict. He stressed that the Donbass highly appreciates Moscow’s efforts in the negotiation process on the Minsk agreements, but the agreements do not prevent Kyiv to violate the established truce.

Pushilin added that the inhabitants of Donbass feels “Russian in spirit, and their main goal is integration with Russia,” as RIA reported.

Shortly after Pushilin’s request, Putin said Moscow should consider recognizing breakaway regions of Ukraine.

Putin summoned top officials on Monday to consider recognizing independence of Separatist regions supported by Russia in Eastern Ukraine. The meeting of the Presidential Security Council intervened amid fears in the West that Russia could invade Ukraine at any moment, using skirmishes in eastern Ukraine as a pretext for a attack. Ukrainian authorities accuse Russia of provocation amid intensified shelling along the line of contact.

Russia has massed about 150,000 troops on three sides of Ukraine – the largest such buildup since the Cold War.

Moscow denies having everything plans for attack but wants western guarantees that NATO won’t allow Ukraine and others former Soviet countries for join as members. He has also asked the alliance to stop the deployment of weapons in Ukraine and to roll back its forces from Eastern Europe – demands flatly rejected by the West.

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