The Kremlin said Wednesday that the leaders of the breakaway Donbas republics of Donetsk and Luhansk (DPR and LPR) have asked for Russian President Vladimir Putin for help in “repelling the aggression” of the Ukrainian military.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said DPR leader Denis Pushilin and LPR leader Leonid Pasechnik sent written requests asking Putin for “help in repelling the aggression of the armed forces in Ukraine.”
The formal request came after Putin recognized the independence of the two republics on Monday. “The heads of those republics on behalf of themselves and their peoples express their gratitude to the Russian president for the recognition of their states,” Peskov said.
On Tuesday, Russia ratified treaties with the DPR and LPR allowing military cooperation, and Putin was given the green light by Russia’s upper house of parliament to deploy troops. Putin ordered the military to send “peacekeepers” to the Donbas but said the troops hadn’t been deployed yet.
The Russian recognition came amid a spike in ceasefire violations along the line of contact in the Donbas. Russia and the DPR and LPR say that Ukraine has stepped up shelling of civilian areas, while Kyiv blames the escalation on the separatists.
On Wednesday, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said in the previous 24 hours, it recorded 528 ceasefire violations in Donetsk and 1,182 ceasefire violations in Luhansk.
The DPR and LPR don’t control all the territory that they claim in the Donbas. On Tuesday, Putin said he recognized the republics’ under the borders they claim but added that the issue should be resolved through negotiations when possible.
“We expect, and I want to emphasize this, that all disputes will be resolved during talks between the current Kyiv authorities and the leaders of these republics,” Putin said. “Unfortunately, at this point in time, we realize that it is impossible to do so, since hostilities are still ongoing and, moreover, they are showing signs of escalating. But I hope this is how it will turn out in the future.”