PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, September 5. /TASS/. The current tragedy in Donbass was caused by the neo-Nazi regime, which seized power through force in 2014 and launched military action in the region, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.
"The tragedy taking place in Donbass resulted from the actions of the nationalist, neo-Nazi regime, which seized power through force in 2014 and then launched combat activities in Donbass," Putin said speaking at a meeting with environmental forum participants in Kamchatka, in Russia’s Far East.
"It twice held large-scale military operations using heavy firepower, aviation, heavy weapons, and so forth. And this is all continuing to this day."
"Our duty is to help these people and Russia is doing that," he noted.
According to Putin, Moscow’s attempts to resolve the conflict by peaceful means fell through due to Kiev’s intransigence.
"We definitely had to help and we are now assisting people living in Donbass," the Russian president added.
Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine
The situation along the line of engagement in Donbass escalated on February 17. The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) reported back then the worst wave of bombardments by the Ukrainian military, which damaged civilian infrastructure and caused civilian casualties.
On February 21, President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was recognizing the sovereignty of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Russia signed agreements on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with their leaders. Moscow recognized the Donbass republics in accordance with the DPR and LPR constitutions within the boundaries of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions as of the beginning of 2014.
Russian President Putin announced on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics for assistance he had decided to carry out a special military operation in Ukraine. The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories, noting that the operation was aimed at the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine.
The DPR and the LPR launched an operation to liberate their territories under Kiev’s control.