MOSCOW, February 22. /TASS/. Russia calls on other countries to follow its example and recognize the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Russia calls on other countries to follow its example," the statement reads. "This was the only possible solution, albeit quite a challenging one."
On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees at the ceremony in the Kremlin on recognizing the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Putin met with DPR and LPR leaders, Denis Pushilin and Leonid Pasechnik correspondingly, and signed with them the treaties on friendship, cooperation and mutual aid between Russia and both republics.
On February 18, the heads of the LPR and DPR, Leonid Pasechnik and Denis Pushilin respectively, announced the evacuation of the republics’ residents to Russia. A general mobilization was ordered in the Donbass republics on February 19.
Russian President Putin also ordered the country’s Foreign Ministry to establish diplomatic relations with the two republics and also ordered the Defense Ministry to provide measures for the peace on their territories.
"The leaders and people from these two republics appealed to the Russian President to recognize them," according to the statement. "The members of the Russian Federation Federal Assembly’s State Duma raised the same question in their appeal to the President of the Russian Federation."
"The President of Russia took this decision primarily on humanitarian grounds and to protect civilians in DPR and LPR, including hundreds of thousands of Russian nationals, from the real threat to their lives and security posed by the current Ukrainian regime, which persists in its attempts to resolve the ‘Donbass issue’ by force," the statement reads.
Tensions escalated along the line of contact in eastern Ukraine on the morning of February 17. The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR, LPR) reported the heaviest shelling by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in months.
The statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday also stated: "Exactly eight years ago the world witnessed a bloody anti-constitutional government coup in Kiev."
"It brought to power in Ukraine, with the West’s active support, radical nationalists who started imposing their law on the country, fighting the Russian language and dissent, promoting an alien ideology, glorifying Nazi accomplices, rewriting history, and turning Ukrainian territory into a NATO bridgehead against Russia," according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
"People in Donbass did not agree with this policy and stood up for their legitimate rights and interests. Held on May 11, 2014, two referendums resulted in the proclamation of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics," the statement says. "Instead of seeking to reconcile with its fellow Ukrainians by political means, Kiev launched a punitive military operation against them, which in fact amounted to unleashing a civil war."
"Russia has been persisting in its efforts to promote a peaceful, diplomatic settlement from the very beginning of the Ukrainian crisis," the Russian Foreign Ministry stated. "Unfortunately, the government in Kiev made two unsuccessful attempts to return Donetsk and Lugansk to Ukraine by force."
"Russia’s proactive engagement alongside other international mediators helped stop the bloodshed. This paved the way to the drafting of the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements of February 12, 2015, approved unanimously by UN Security Council Resolution 2202. This document provided a path to a political solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine and reintegrating the Donbass region."
"However, from the very moment the Package of Measure was signed, Kiev was not ready to implement it, openly stating that the agreements reached in Minsk were null and void and refusing to fulfil them," according to Moscow. "Warlike rhetoric kept coming from Ukrainian officials who made public statements on refusing direct dialogue with Donbass and stated their intentions to resolve the crisis by military means."
"In fact, Kiev has long withdrawn from the Minsk agreements by openly sabotaging their implementation," the statement added.