Russia’s State Duma on Tuesday approved a resolution to ask President Vladimir Putin to recognize the breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, known as the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR).
The resolution was put forward by the opposition Communist Party, but it easily passed in a vote of 351-16. In response, Ukraine said Russia’s recognition of the DPR and LPR would mean Moscow’s de facto withdrawal from the Minsk agreements, which were signed in 2014 and 2015 to establish a ceasefire in the Donbas.
Under the Minsk accords, Ukraine agreed to cede autonomy to the DPR and LPR, but that hasn’t happened. When asked about the Duma vote, Putin signaled that he wouldn’t recognize the breakaway republics anytime soon, insisting that the Minsk agreements have not yet been exhausted.
“We are really hoping that both our partners overseas and in Europe, above all, Germany and France, will exert appropriate influence over the current Kyiv authorities,” Putin said.
The Minsk agreements were reached in talks between Ukraine and Russia brokered by Germany and France, a forum known as the Normandy format. Russia and Ukraine held Normandy format talks last week, but the two sides failed to make any progress on the Donbas conflict, although they agreed to hold fresh negotiations again soon.