UNITED NATIONS, February 22. /TASS/. The Ukrainian authorities have deployed 120,000 troops to the line of contact in Donbass, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said at a UN Security Council meeting dedicated to the situation around Ukraine.
"While whipping up groundless panic around Russia’s allegedly imminent invasion of Ukraine, our Western colleagues were shamelessly pumping the country with weapons, sending instructors there and actually pushing the Ukrainians, who have deployed 120,000 troops to the line of contact, towards staging armed provocations against Donbass," he pointed out.
According to the Russian diplomat, "the bubble that the West and Ukraine inflated together just had to burst." "Over the past weekend, the Ukrainian military intensified its bombardment of residential areas in the LPR and DPR [Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics]," Nebenzya noted. He cited the latest data, saying that up to 1,600 shells had been fired at those areas, killing civilians. "Several groups of saboteurs that infiltrated the republics and blew up or tried to blow up critical infrastructure facilities," the Russian envoy stressed. "Several Russian communities located close to the border also came under fire," he pointed out. "That said, it became clear that Donbass was on the brink of a new Ukrainian military adventure," Nebenzya said, adding: "We cannot let it happen."
On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. The treaties on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance were signed with their leaders. Putin later ordered the Russian Foreign Ministry to establish diplomatic relations with the DPR and LPR and the Defense Ministry to maintain peace in the republics. According to one of the presidential decrees, the Defense Ministry was ordered to make sure that "the Russian Armed Forces maintain peace in the Donetsk People’s Republic" until a treaty on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance is concluded. The Russian Defense Ministry received similar instructions in a decree recognizing the LPR.