Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov said it was a ‘humanitarian decision’, but the decision was condemned by Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko.
Conflict in Eastern Ukraine, ongoing since 2014, has flared up again in recent weeks. The West and the authorities in Kiev accuse Russia of backing the separatists in Eastern Ukraine, but Kremlin has rejected the allegations.
The Russian decree to temporarily recognize documents issued by self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhanks Republics is not an act of recognition, Russian officials have said. Russia sees the decree as a part of a humanitarian effort to help the people of Donbass, since the authorities in Kiev have stopped issuing documents to the population of its two breakaway territories in the East.
Several Ukrainian officials have condemned the move. The head of Ukraine’s national security and defense council, Oleksandr Turchynov, said:
The Minsk process provides for the de-occupation of eastern Ukraine and its restitution to the legal force of the state.
By signing this decree, Putin has legally recognised the quasi-state terrorist groups which cover Russia’s occupation of part of Donbas.
Thousands of refugees from Eastern Ukraine have fled to Russia since the start of the conflict, while almost 10,000 people were killed since the start of the conflict three years ago.
A new ceasefire agreement was announced on Saturday, backed by Russia, as well as several European countries. According to Lavrov, the implementation of the deal is set to begin on Monday.
On Feb. 20, the ceasefire regime will start, and withdrawal of heavy military hardware will also start to the places where they are supposed to be.”
Lavrov said Saturday after the talks at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, which was attended by various world leaders.