On Tuesday, Russia’s lower house of parliament, known as the State Duma, ratified treaties with the breakaway Donbas republics of Donetsk and Luhansk (DPR and LPR), which allow Moscow to build military bases in the territories.
Separately, Russia’s upper house, known as the Federation Council, approved President Vladimir Putin’s request to deploy troops abroad, giving him the green light to send forces into the Donbas what he says will be a “peacekeeping” mission.
Putin ordered the deployment into Donbas on Monday but said Tuesday that the troops wouldn’t be sent in right away. “I haven’t said that the troops will go there right now,” he said, according to The Associated Press. “It’s impossible to forecast a specific pattern of action –- it will depend on a concrete situation as it takes shape on the ground.”
Putin also clarified that Russia has recognized the DPR’s and LPR’s territorial claims in the Donbas, which includes territory controlled by the Ukrainian government. At this point, it’s not clear if the Russian troops will try to push back Ukrainian forces out of the Donbas region entirely or if they will stay at the line of control established by the Minsk agreements.
The Donbas separatists renewed calls for Russian recognition and military assistance amid a spike of ceasefire violations along the line of control, and it doesn’t appear that the violence has slowed.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) issued a daily report on February 22nd. It said in the previous 24 hours, the OSCE recorded 703 ceasefire violations in Donetsk and 1,224 violations in Luhansk.