Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees instructing Russia's Armed Forces to maintain peace in the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR).
The documents, in particular, say that in connection with the appeals from the leaders of the Donbass republics, Denis Pushilin and Leonid Pasechnik, the implementation of peacekeeping missions in these states was now assigned to the Russian military.
Putin's decrees came into force from the moment of signing.
The head of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Leonid Kalashnikov, stated that the DPR and LPR were recognised within the borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Currently, part of these territories remains under the control of the Ukrainian army.
Putin also instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia to start establishing diplomatic relations with the Donbass republics. The Russian Foreign Ministry was instructed to negotiate the establishment of diplomatic relations with Donetsk and Luhansk.
The agreements on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance between Russia and the republics of the Donbass have been submitted to the State Duma for ratification. The documents were sent to the Committee for International Affairs and the Committee for Affairs of the CIS, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots. They are scheduled to be reviewed on February 22.
The State Duma ratified agreements on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR). Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier signed the agreements with DPR and LPR leaders Denis Pushilin and Leonid Pasechnik, TASS reports.
Afterwards, the agreements concluded with the republics of the Donbass will be considered by the Federation Council. As reported in the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council is to ratify them on February 22 as well.
Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower house of the parliament, believes that the ratification of the treaties should stop the hostilities. In addition, the recognition of the independence of the republics will help prevent the killings of Russian citizens and compatriots living in the Donbass, Volodin believes.
Putin appointed Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko as his representative for the treaties with the DPR and LPR. Rudenko will represent the head of state when the State Duma and the Federation Council consider the ratification of the treaties of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance between Moscow and the republics of the Donbass.
Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia, believes that Russia would have to deal with new sanctions and threats from the West after Putin recognized the DPR and the LPR. According to him, Russia will have to deal with political pressure, but the opponents will return to the negotiating table later.
"We have been there and done that, and have long ceased to be afraid. We have strong nerves,” Medvedev concluded, noting that "history will prove that we are right."
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Moscow's decision undermined efforts for a peaceful settlement of the crisis in Ukraine. Stoltenberg warned Russia against fueling the conflict.
US President Joe Biden discussed the situation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron by phone. The leaders condemned Moscow's decision and said that Putin's move would not go unanswered.
In addition, Biden signed a decree prohibiting Americans from investing, financing and trading with the Donbass republics. In addition, the document envisages sanctions against any individuals who will conduct economic activities in the Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic.
Representatives for the Foreign Ministry of Germany called on Russia to reverse its decision. Officials from Italy and Austria also said that Putin's recognition of the DPR and LPR came as a violation of the Minsk agreements and hindered the diplomatic settlement of the Ukrainian crisis.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres also spoke against Russia's decision. According to him, Moscow violated Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Yulia Tymoshenko, the head of the Batkivshchyna party, said that Ukraine came to the moment of truth. Tymoshenko addressed Ukrainian President Zelensky saying that Ukraine needs to consolidate all political and social forces to protect and preserve the nation's independence
Tymoshenko called Russia's decision to recognise the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (Ukraine refers to those territories as 'temporarily occupied' — ed.) "a cynical violation" of the fundamental norms of international law, the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act and the Budapest Memorandum.
"I am addressing the President of Ukraine: it is time to consolidate all branches of power, all political and social forces of the country to protect and preserve our independence,” Yulia Tymoshenko wrote on Facebook.
Tymoshenko called Russia's move to recognise the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic a blow to the entire democratic, civilised world and called on all signatories of the Budapest Memorandum (except Russia) to take action to prove the authenticity of the guarantees provided for in the document and ensure the territorial integrity of Ukraine. In the first place, Western embassies should return to Kiev, whereas observers should return to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in the Donbass, she said.
Ukrainian President Zelensky, after Russia announced its decision to recognise the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic stated that Ukraine would not give anything to anyone. Ukraine's borders will remain as recognised by the international community, he added.
According to him, Ukraine may sever diplomatic relations with Russia. Kiev is currently considering such an opportunity, Zelensky said.
President of Ukraine Zelensky announced the need to stop the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline completely. According to him, sanctions against Russia should target the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to shut it down completely.
The Russian Ministry of Defense showed a video of the destruction of US-made M777 towed howitzers in Ukraine. The US systems were destroyed by the Russian Kub (Cube) kamikaze drone