Published: 22nd February 2022
What The FAQ: What did Putin say in his fiery speech and how does it affect the Ukraine situation?
Calling it a decision that has been long-pending, Putin said that the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic should be declared independent regions
In an emotional speech on February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that two breakaway regions in the eastern part of Ukraine are independent entities. This has suddenly escalated the situation that the West feels could turn into a major war.
What did Putin say about the two regions?
Calling it a decision that has been long-pending, Putin said that the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic should be declared independent regions. These are the regions under the pro-Russian separatists. "I deem it necessary to make a decision that should have been made a long time ago, to immediately recognise the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic," said Putin. "Modern Ukraine was entirely created by Russia, more precisely, Bolshevik, communist Russia. This process began immediately after the revolution of 1917," he added.
Does Putin think Ukraine is a threat?
Putin said that Ukraine never had a tradition of genuine statehood and if Ukraine was to join NATO "it would serve as a direct threat to the security of Russia". He added, "We clearly understand that under such a scenario, the level of military threats to Russia will dramatically increase many times over. I pay special attention to the fact that the danger of a sudden strike against our country will increase many times over."
How did other world leaders react?
France described the address on Ukraine as "paranoid", accusing Putin of breaking promises made to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. After Putin ordered troops to “maintain peace” in the breakaway regions of Lugansk and Donetsk, the United States of America announced financial sanctions against the rebel territories and warned that more were ready if necessary.
According to statements from the White House, US President Joe Biden “strongly condemned” Putin’s decision “to purportedly recognise the ‘independence'” of the regions.
China, on the other hand, remained neutral. "The current situation in Ukraine is a result of many complex factors,” China’s UN ambassador Zhang Jun told the UN Security Council. China is an ally of Russia.