Germany, Poland, Norway, Latvia and Lithuania voiced concern Monday over Russia’s recognition of Ukraine’s breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent states.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recognition of the separatist “people’s republics” in eastern Ukraine "willfully undoes years of efforts" in the Normandy Format and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
“We will respond to this breach of international law & coordinate with our partners,” Baerbock said on Twitter.
“Recognition of two self-proclaimed 'republics' amounts to rejection of dialogue and blatant violation of international law,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Twitter.
“It is an act of aggression against Ukraine that must be met with unequivocal response & immediate sanctions. It is the only language Putin understands,” Morawiecki said, calling for an urgent meeting of the European Council to discuss the matter.
Norway also condemned Russia’s decision to recognize the self-proclaimed “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry said on Twitter.
“This is a further violation of #Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and directly contradicts the spirit and the letter of the Minsk agreements,” it added.
Utterly condemning Russia’s actions, Latvia urged the international community to take the strongest possible measures to stop Russia’s aggression and offer assistance to Ukraine.
“In a gross violation of international law, under a fabricated pretext, and by spreading false information, Russia seeks to induce a change in Ukraine’s political leadership and foreign policy course by violent means,” said a statement by the Latvian Foreign Ministry.
“Putin just put Kafka & Orwell to shame: no limits to dictator's imagination, no lows too low, no lies too blatant, no red lines too red to cross. What we witnessed tonight might seem surreal for democratic world. But the way we respond will define us for the generations to come,” Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said on Twitter.
Calling on Russia to de-escalate tensions in the region, Estonia urged the European Union to impose strict sanctions immediately.
“If the decision will be made by Russia to recognise so-called ‘Donetsk & Luhansk People’s Republics,’ it would constitute a grave violation of int’l law & of Ukraine’s sovereignty & territorial integrity,” the Estonian Foreign Ministry said on Twitter.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez also took to Twitter to condemn Russia over its “unilateral recognition” of eastern Ukraine regions.
“The Government of Spain condemns Russia's unilateral recognition of the separatist territories in eastern Ukraine. It is a violation of the Minsk agreements and international law,” he said. “We will respond in a coordinated manner with our partners.”
Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Twitter that Ireland’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is “unwavering.”
“The decision by Russia to recognise the areas of Donetsk & Luhansk contravenes international law. Ireland supports a clear, united & strong EU response, including sanctions,” Coveney added.
Slovakia’s Prime Minister Eduard Heger also expressed support for Ukraine.
“We stand by #Ukraine in these difficult moments. The act of recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk by #Russia in the middle of diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful resolution to an escalation is #mindblowing,” he said.
“#Slovakia condemns this decision, united w/ its allies & partners.”
Putin recognizes Donetsk and Luhansk regions as independent states
Putin officially recognized Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions as independent states Monday and signed the relevant agreements with the rebel leaders of the regions in the Kremlin.
He also said he would ask Russia’s parliament "to immediately recognize" the signed agreements as valid.
Putin also demanded that Kyiv "halt hostilities in the Donbas region immediately," saying that if not, "the responsibility for what happens" will lie with the country's authorities.
The EU’s top officials condemned the recognition of Luhansk and Donetsk by Russia, calling it a "blatant violation of international law."
In a joint statement, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen condemned “in the strongest possible terms the decision by the Russian President to proceed with the recognition of the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine as independent entities.”