Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has condemned Russia’s decision to recognize two separatist republics in the eastern Donbass region, calling the move a violation of his country’s sovereignty.
Speaking during a televised address on Tuesday morning, Zelensky accused Moscow of undermining diplomatic efforts to resolve fighting with separatists in the Donbass, saying President Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognize the Donetsk and Lugansk republics violated agreements negotiated in Minsk.
“Ukraine unequivocally qualifies the recent actions of the Russian Federation as a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state,” he said. “All responsibility for the consequences of these decisions rests with Russia’s political leadership.”
Late on Monday, the Russian president said his government would “immediately” recognize the two republics – created in the wake of Ukraine’s 2014 EuroMaidan coup – and ordered the Russian military to enter the newly recognized republics as a peacekeeping force.
Despite months of predictions of a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine from Western leaders, Zelensky told citizens that there was “no reason for you not to sleep tonight.”