Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognize the independence of two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine has drawn condemnation, with the NATO chief calling it a violation of international agreements.
The Russian president later on Monday also ordered troops to “maintain peace” in the breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.
Putin’s moves come amid months of tension over Russia’s military deployment on the borders of Ukraine, which has prompted warnings from the United States and several European nations.
Here is how world leaders reacted to the announcement:
US President Joe Biden
Biden “strongly condemned Russian President Putin’s decision to purportedly recognize the ‘independence'” of the eastern regions of Ukraine, the White House said.
The US president also told his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy “that the United States would respond swiftly and decisively, in lock-step with its Allies and partners, to further Russian aggression against Ukraine”.
German Foreign Minister Christian Lindner
By breaking international law, #Putin is isolating himself to the detriment of the Russian people. It will result in #NATO and #EU getting closer as communities of values. United in solidarity with #Ukraine and trust in the law.
With the Bruch des Völkerrechts is solved #Putin to Schaden des russischen Volkes. Er wird erreichen, dass #NATO und #EU als Wertegemeinschaften enger zueinander finden. Vereint in der Solidarität zur #Ukraine and in Vertrauen on the Recht. CL
– Christian Lindner (@c_lindner) February 21, 2022
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
We strongly condemn President Putin’s decision to recognize the so-called “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” as “independent”. As we said when the Duma first made its request: this decision represents a complete rejection of Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements, directly contradicts Russia’s claimed commitment to diplomacy, and is a clear attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
States have an obligation not to recognize a new “state” created through the threat or use of force, as well as an obligation not to disrupt another state’s borders. Russia’s decision is yet another example of President Putin’s flagrant disrespect for international law and norms.
Our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as for the government and people of Ukraine is unwavering. We stand with our Ukrainian partners in strongly condemning President Putin’s announcement.
Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
The Secretary-General considers the decision of the Russian Federation to be a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and inconsistent with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
The United Nations, in line with the relevant General Assembly resolutions, remains fully supportive of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, within its internationally recognized borders.
French President Emmanuel Macron
By recognizing the separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, Russia is violating its commitments and undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty. I condemn this decision. I have asked for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council and European sanctions.
Recognizing the regional restrictions of the Ukrainian territory, the Russian version of the engagement and portals has reached the Ukrainian state. Je condamne cette décision. The demands of the UN Security Council for the protection of the United Nations and the sanctions of the European Union.
– Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) February 21, 2022
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg
I condemn Russia’s decision to extend recognition to the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “Luhansk People’s Republic”. This further undermines Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, erodes efforts towards a resolution of conflict, and violates the Minsk agreements, to which Russia is a party.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki
We have anticipated a move like this from Russia and are ready to respond immediately. President Biden will soon issue an Executive Order (EO) that will prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by US persons to, from, or in the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine. This EO will also provide authority to impose sanctions on any person determined to operate in those areas of Ukraine. The Departments of State and Treasury will have additional details shortly… To be clear: these measures are separate from and would be in addition to the swift and severe economic measures we have been preparing in coordination with Allies and partners should Russia further invade Ukraine.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson
It is a flagrant violation of the sovereignty and integrity of the Ukraine… a repudiation of the Minsk process and the Minsk agreements.
The UK will continue to do everything we can to stand by the people of Ukraine with a very robust package of sanctions.
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss
The move signals an end to the Minsk process and is a violation of the United Nations Charter.
We will not allow Russia’s violation of its international commitments to go unpunished.
Tomorrow we will be announcing new sanctions on Russia in response to their breach of international law and attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
– Liz Truss (@trussliz) February 21, 2022
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
The recognition of the two separatist territories in Ukraine is a blatant violation of international law, the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the Minsk agreements.
The EU and its partners will react with unity, firmness and with determination in solidarity with Ukraine.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki
The decision to recognize the self-proclaimed “republics” is a final rejection of dialogue and a flagrant violation of international law. This is an act of aggression against Ukraine, which must be met with an unequivocal response in the form of immediate sanctions.
Turkish Foreign Ministry
In light of the latest developments, we strongly urge our citizens to leave the Eastern regions of Ukraine. We recommend our citizens to contact our Embassy in Kyiv when necessary.