Bulgaria joins rest of EU, Nato in slamming Putin’s recognition of Donbas ‘republics’

Bulgaria has joined the rest of Nato and the European Union, and the White House, in strongly condemning the February 21 recognition by Russian President Vladimir Putin of the Luhansk and Donetsk “people’s republics” in eastern Ukraine as “independent”.

Russian television showed Putin signing documentation in this regard, at the close of a lengthy and rambling televised address in which the Russian leader proferred his view of the history of Ukraine, arguing that it was a “creation of Lenin”. That televised address showed a meeting, also televised live, of Putin discussing the two “people’s republics” with a sycophantic assembly of his security council.

Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Kiril Petkov condemned, in a message on Twitter, the decision by Putin to recognise Donetsk and Luhansk as “independent entities”.

“We continue supporting the territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders. International law should be upheld,” Petkov said.

“We, the European Union, will speak united in defending it,” he said.

A message on the Twitter account of Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska said that Putin’s recognition of the Luhansk and Donetsk separatist states was a flagrant violation of international law and undermined European security.

“Such escalation requires unified and resolute response. Distortion of history is unacceptable,” said the message on Twitter, adding the hashtag #WeStandWithUkraine.

A February 21 statement by the White House said that US President Joe Biden would soon issue an executive order that would prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by US persons to, from, or in the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine.

“This EO will also provide authority to impose sanctions on any person determined to operate in those areas of Ukraine. The Departments of State and Treasury will have additional details shortly,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

“We will also soon announce additional measures related to today’s blatant violation of Russia’s international commitments,” Psaki said.

“To be clear: these measures are separate from and would be in addition to the swift and severe economic measures we have been preparing in coordination with Allies and partners should Russia further invade Ukraine,” she said.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “I condemn Russia’s decision to extend recognition to the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ and ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’.

“This further undermines Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, erodes efforts towards a resolution of the conflict, and violates the Minsk Agreements, to which Russia is a party,” Stoltenberg said.

Moscow continues to fuel the conflict in eastern Ukraine by providing financial and military support to the separatists. It is also trying to stage a pretext to invade Ukraine once again, he said.

Stoltenberg said that Nato supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.

“Allies urge Russia, in the strongest possible terms, to choose the path of diplomacy, and to immediately reverse its massive military build-up in and around Ukraine, and withdraw its forces from Ukraine in accordance with its international obligations and commitments,” he said.

A joint statement on February 21 by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel said that they condemned “in the strongest possible terms” Putin’s decision to proceed with the recognition of the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine as independent entities.

“This step is a blatant violation of international law as well as of the Minsk agreements,” the joint statement said.

It said that the EU would react with sanctions against those involved in this illegal act.

“The Union reiterates its unwavering support to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders,” the Von der Leyen-Michel statement said.

Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić said: “The recognition of the so-called ‘people’s republics’ of Donetsk and Luhansk by the Russian Federation is in violation of international law and represents a unilateral breach of the Minsk agreements – which remain the only basis for a settlement of the conflict in Donbas.

“The Council of Europe affirms its unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders,” Burić said.

“We call on the Russian Federation to reverse this decision and abstain from further aggravating the situation. “We insistently call our member states to solve their disagreement through dialogue based on respect of the principles enshrined in the Statute of the Council of Europe, and in the European Convention on Human Rights,” the statement said.

(Photo: Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry)

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