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Russia – Ukraine crisis: Fear of war looms as Putin dispatches soldiers following the recognition of Ukrainian separatist territories

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          Russian President Vladimir Putin issued two decrees recognising the “Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR)” and “Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR)” as independent and sovereign republics.

 Vladimir Putin inked a treaty of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with the presidents of the two “republics”. According to Putin, Ukrainian bombardment of Donbass communities occurs practically every day, with “no end in sight”. “Russia has done everything to maintain Ukraine’s territorial integrity” by fighting for the fulfilment of the 2015 Minsk agreements, Putin informed the audience, but all efforts were futile.  Putin also inked the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance between Russia and the LPR and the DPR with the presidents of the two “republics” on Monday, according to a Kremlin statement.

The conflict reached a boiling point as a result of NATO’s eastward expansion, leading Russia to mobilise soldiers on its western border with Ukraine. Ukraine and some Western countries accused Russia of massing troops near the Ukrainian border with the intent of “invading”, a charge Moscow has repeatedly denied, saying it has the right to mobilise troops within its borders to defend its territory because NATO’s activities pose a threat to the country’s border security.

Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged the independence of Moscow-backed rebel districts in eastern Ukraine on Monday, escalating tensions with the West amid worries of a Russian invasion. Putin’s action comes after days of heightened tensions in Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, where Ukrainian forces have been engaged in a nearly eight-year struggle with Russia-backed separatists that has killed over 14,000 people.

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