Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday recognized the independence of two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine in an emotional address on state-run television.
He also questioned Ukraine’s right to sovereignty and alleged the West had spent years cheating Moscow.
Putin said the West “spat” on Russia’s security concerns for years by “moving NATO eastwards and putting military infrastructure closer to Russia’s borders.”
The Russian leader said the West was trying to “blackmail” Moscow, “regardless of the situation in Ukraine.”
Meanwhile, European nations condemned Russia’s recognition of the separatist regions of Ukraine.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz halted the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project designed to bring more Russian gas to Germany on Tuesday after Russia formally recognised the two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine.
As well, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order barring new investment, trade and financing to, from, or in Ukraine’s breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the White House said Monday.
|The UN considers Russia’s decision to recognize Ukraine’s breakaway regions ‘a violation of’ Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty|