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22 Feb, 2022 12:28

Russian MPs disagree on Donbass borders

Politicians debate what the new boundaries of the DPR and LPR should look like on the map
Russian MPs disagree on Donbass borders

Russian officials have openly disagreed over the new borders of Ukraine as the debate over the recognition of the Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) People’s Republics turns to discussion over how much territory the two breakaway states should control.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing the DPR and LPR as independent and sovereign. The two regions broke away from Kiev in 2014, following the events of the Maidan revolution, when violent street protests toppled the government.

The territory of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions before their breakaway from Ukraine in 2014 was much larger. The majority of land is currently controlled by Kiev. Now, in Moscow, a debate has begun over whether Russia should recognize the entirety of the 2014 territory, or just the borders currently under the control of the DPR and LPR.

According to Andrey Klimov, who is the current deputy chair of the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Russia will recognize the republics in their current form.

“We are talking, of course, about those territories that are within the boundaries established today. Everything else is outside the scope of legal action,” Klimov told the Rossiya 24 TV news channel on Monday. “How these borders will be restored is not provided for in this agreement. What the LPR and DPR will do for this is no longer our competence,” he explained.

Earlier on Monday, during a Security Council meeting, Minister of the Interior Vladimir Kolokoltsev also declared that Moscow should recognize the republics within their old broader borders.

“It is unequivocally necessary to recognize these republics, their legal status,” he told Putin. “But I would like to make an amendment: recognize those administrative entities in which these republics and the peoples of these republics were before the occupation by the armed forces of Ukraine.”

Another member of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Nikonov, went even further, suggesting Moscow might assist the newly recognized republics in reclaiming their old borders.

“Russia may make an urgent request to Ukrainian troops to leave these borders. And then they will actually have a very difficult choice.”

Putin’s decision to recognize the breakaway states came after eight years of Moscow calling for them to be reintegrated into Ukraine with a special status, as agreed in the 2014 and 2015 Minsk agreements. However, after almost a decade of stalemate in the peace process, Putin declared them to be independent nations – something he had previously ruled out.