MOSCOW, February 24. /TASS/. Russia will take tough measures in response to the European Union’s sanctions over Moscow’s recognition of the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
"The EU’s continuing unfriendly steps against Russia and Russia’s fraternal DPR and LPR will not be able to stop the progressive development of our states and the provision of assistance to them. In accordance with the principle of reciprocity, which is fundamental to international law, we will take tough response measures," the statement said.
"Instead of analyzing what happened and critically re-evaluating their role in the situation in the DPR and LPR, the EU has resorted to the sanctions approach mistakenly believing that they are an effective way forward," the ministry noted, adding that "no one authorized the EU to address the problems of war and peace in Europe," and that "only the UN Security Council has this international legal prerogative."
"Our repeated messages to Kiev and its Western handlers about the need to stop the violence in Donbass and to implement the Minsk Package of Measures have fallen on deaf ears. For them, the people of the DPR and LPR are just a bargaining chip. Even after Russia recognized the independence of these republics, the shelling not only did not stop, but even intensified," according to the statement.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on Thursday morning that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation. The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories.
When clarifying the developments unfolding, the Russian Defense Ministry reassured that Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities, but are limited to surgically striking and incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure. There are no threats whatsoever to the civilian population.