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Russian Recognition of Breakaway Ukraine Regions

Feb 25, 2022

Russian Recognition of Breakaway Ukraine Regions

The ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis has caught the entire world’s attention. The topic is crucial from the UPSC Exam Preparation point of view and should be studied extensively as it constitutes a significant part of daily current affairs. 

For Prelims: Current Events of National and International Importance.

For Mains: Bilateral, Regional, and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Why in the News?

Recently, the Russian President signed a decree recognizing two breakaway regions (Donetsk and Luhansk) in eastern Ukraine as independent.

  • Donetsk and Luhansk regions are collectively known as the Donbass.
  • Further, Russia has declared military operations against Ukraine ‘to protect civilians in the eastern region of Ukraine’. 

Probable Question

Strategic autonomy has been key to India’s Foreign Policy to secure her national interests amid geopolitical flux. Comment.

Russia launches full-scale invasion


Donbas Region Recognition

  • After Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, the Russian-backed separatists in the Donbas – broke away from Ukrainian government control in 2014 and held a referendum to declare independence from Ukraine. 
  • Since then, the Donbas region within Ukraine has been witnessing skirmishes between the rebels and Ukrainian forces.
  • Donbas region proclaimed themselves independent as “people’s republics”, until now recognized by Russia.

Also read: How to Prepare International Relations for UPSC Mains

The Outcome of Russia’s Recognition

  • Pretext of Opening War against Ukraine: Russia’s recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk region implies that it does not regard the Donbas as part of Ukraine.
    • It paved the way for Moscow to send military forces into the separatist regions openly, using the argument that it is intervening as an ally to protect them against Ukraine.
  • Jeopardizes Minsk Peace Agreements: Russian recognition effectively kills off the 2014-15 Minsk peace agreements.
    • The Minsk agreements were a series of international agreements which sought to end the war in the Donbas region of Ukraine.

Recent Developments

  • UNSC Resolution: The UNSC resolution has been drafted reaffirming its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Ukraine and calls Russian aggression a breach of international peace and security.
  •  U.S. unveils more sanctions on Russia: The United States imposed ‘severe’ economic sanctions are aimed at crippling the Russian economy, its financial institutions, and its access to technology.
  • India’s Position: India at UNSC strongly emphasized the need for all sides to exercise the utmost restraint and intensify diplomatic efforts to ensure a mutually amicable solution.
A Brief Overview: Donbas Region

Donbas is a small region in eastern Ukraine adjoining the Russian border.

In Donbas, ethnic Ukrainians make up a majority, while ethnic Russians are the largest minority.

But over 70% of the population, across the ethnic divisions, speak Russian.

After the fall of the Russian empire, the region was incorporated into the newly created Ukrainian People’s Republic in 1918.
Russian Recognition of Breakaway Ukraine Regions

Way Forward

  • When the world economy is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is in the best interest of the international community that the Russian-Ukraine Crisis needs to be de-escalated through sincere dialogue in the spirit of Minsk agreements.
  • Any further escalation can have far-reaching consequences for the world economy.

News Source: The Hindu

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