The Russian parliament will consider a motion to recognize two Kremlin proxy groups in the Russian-occupied areas in Ukraine’s Donbas as independent states.
The move comes amid an escalation of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of Russia’s State Duma, said on Telegram on Jan. 21 that next week the leaders of the Duma factions would discuss an address to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin to recognize the so-called "Donetsk People’s Republic" and "Luhansk People’s Republic" -- the Russia-backed groups that occupy parts of eastern Ukraine. Volodin hinted that Putin’s United Russia party might back it.
A draft of the address was submitted to the State Duma on Jan. 19 by the Communist Party. It was backed by another parliamentary party, a Just Russia, but opposed by the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia.
“I believe members of parliament from United Russia are also concerned with protecting the lives of Russian citizens and compatriots living in the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic,” said Volodin, who represents United Russia, speaking in fact of Ukraine's territories. “We see that President (Volodymyr) Zelensky is ignoring the Minsk agreements, and NATO wants to occupy Ukraine. Both may lead to a tragedy. We can’t afford to let this happen. It’s obvious that we must find a solution for guaranteeing the safety of our citizens and compatriots in the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic.”
Volodin's statements about NATO's intentions and "Russia citizens" in eastern Ukraine contradict the facts and reflect the Russian propaganda's false narratives about Ukraine.
Volodin’s rhetoric is similar to the one used during Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008. Georgia's breakaway republics of Abkhazia and Ossetia declared independence in 1992, and Russia occupied them and recognized their independence in 2008.
Meanwhile, Volodin’s statement is also at odds with a Jan. 19 statement by another United Russian lawmaker, Konstantin Zatulin. He said that the recognition of the Kremlin proxy groups may harm Russia’s interests and violate the Minsk agreements.