August 14, 2022
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The United States has warned Russia against declaring independence from the territories separated from Ukraine

US Secretary of State Anthony Blingen during a press conference in Melbourne

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blingen on Wednesday criticized the move by Russian lawmakers to freely recognize two Russian – backed secession areas in eastern Ukraine, saying it was illegal and would attract a quick response.

The Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, voted on Tuesday to ask President Vladimir Putin to recognize the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. The EU said Russia should not go any further.

“This resolution will further undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and is a gross violation of international law, questioning Russia’s commitment to continue engaging in diplomacy to achieve a peaceful solution to this crisis,” he said.

The US Secretary of State said the move would require a “quick and firm response from the United States in full coordination with our allies and partners.”

The Duma operation could trigger a broader blockade on the Russian military structure near Ukraine, which has provoked Western fears that Moscow could be attacked if passed. Russia vehemently blamed the West for rejecting any invasion plan.

Recognition of self-declared territories could kill the Minsk peace process in eastern Ukraine, where a conflict between government forces and pro-Moscow separatists in the region of Donbass has claimed 15,000 lives.

The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin had “listened” to parliament’s demands but would not comply with the 2014-15 Minsk agreements aimed at ending the conflict.

(Report by Toina Siaku)

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