Statement by NATO PA President on Russia’s recognition of the independence of the so-called “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics”

21 February 2022

"I condemn in the strongest terms President Vladimir Putin’s recognition of the independence of the so-called “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” – which are an integral part of Ukraine’s internationally recognised territory. Putin has decided to reject genuine offers of diplomacy and dialogue and escalate his aggression against Ukraine.

We stand by Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in the face of this renewed assault against Ukraine’s statehood and democracy. We reaffirm our Assembly's unwavering support for Ukraine, its sovereignty, territorial integrity and right to self-defence and self-determination.

There is no justification for Russia’s decision to further undermine Ukraine’s territorial integrity other than a desire to derail Ukraine’s democratic and Euro-Atlantic path. Putin’s claims of Ukrainian aggression are false. His disinformation campaign has been discredited thoroughly. And his rambling “explanation” of his decision made clear he denies Ukraine’s statehood, which he sees as a mistake of history.

President Putin will not succeed in his goal to subdue Ukraine, recreate a sphere of influence over his neighbours and intimidate the Alliance. Today’s decision will only further isolate him and his regime.

The world must stand united in responding to this blatant violation of the Minsk agreements and the basic principles underlying the international order since the end of World War II – both of which Moscow has freely signed on to.

Today’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty must be met with crippling and sustained sanctions. This cannot be used as a pretext for deploying Russian troops and for further invasion. No one should be fooled by euphemisms. These are Russian military units occupying the sovereign territory of Ukraine. 
 
As Assembly leaders made perfectly clear in our meeting with the North Atlantic Council earlier today, we must continue to press Russia to withdraw its forces from Belarus and from Ukraine’s borders and make clear that further military aggression will be met with a decisive response and further, massive sanctions and consequences."

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