Donbass republics ask Putin for military help
The newly recognised Donbass republics in Lugansk and Donetsk have formally asked Russia for military assistance in letters published on Wednesday.
In them, their leaders claim that Ukrainian “aggression” has only increased since Moscow recognized the regions as independent states, earlier this week.
The heads of Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) wrote to Russian President Vladimir Putin separately, but both letters were dated Tuesday, February 22.
The DPR’s Denis Pushilin and his LPR counterpart Leonid Pasechnik invoked articles three and four of their newly ratified treaties on cooperation and mutual aid with Russia, asking Moscow to “render aid in repelling the military aggression of the Ukrainian regime,” which they claim is waging war against them.
“Ukrainian aggression is increasing,” Pushilin wrote citing the alleged increase in artillery bombardment targeting critical civilian infrastructure and reportedly leaving 300,000 people without water after the republic's main waterworks were hit. The DNR leader claimed Ukraine is continuing what he called a “genocide” of the civilians, which apparently has forced the evacuation of over 40,000 people so far.
“Actions of the Kiev regime testify that they have no desire to carry out the Minsk agreements and stop the war in Donbass,” wrote Pasechnik, adding that Ukraine is receiving military aid from the US and other Western countries and is “oriented towards ending the conflict with the LPR by force.”
Pasechnik also noted that over 51,000 people have been evacuated from Lugansk so far, more than half of them children.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has insisted there was no military offensive aimed at the two regions, which Kiev considers “temporarily occupied” renegade territories. Ukraine has also accused the DPR and LPR of staging “false flag” incidents against their own civilians to justify a “Russian invasion.”
Donetsk and Lugansk declared their independence from Ukraine in 2014, after the West-backed protests ended with a coup ousting the democratically elected government in Kiev. The Ukrainian military’s attempts to subjugate the area by force failed, resulting in the uneasy ceasefires signed in Minsk, Belarus – first in September 2014, then in February 2015.
Moscow had long refused to recognize the two republics, pointing to Minsk and calling the conflict an internal Ukrainian matter. On Monday, however, Putin said that Kiev had openly refused to comply with the Minsk agreements and signed a decree on the “long overdue” recognition of Donetsk and Lugansk.