Ukraine requests UN to discuss Russia’ s proposal to recognize separatists

Ukraine has requested the UN Security Council to discuss a proposal by Russia’s parliament to recognise self-declared separatists in eastern Ukraine on Thursday.

The 15-member council was already planning to meet to examine Ukraine’s issue and the Minsk agreements, which it backed in 2015 to halt the separatist violence. The conference takes place amid high tensions following Russia’s recent massing of over 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders, despite Russia’s denials that it is plotting an attack.

Ukraine’s Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya said the move by the Russian parliament on Tuesday “further aggravated the threats to both Ukraine’s territorial integrity and global security architecture following the ongoing military build-up by the Russian Federation in the vicinity of the borders with Ukraine,” in a letter to Security Council members seen by Reuters.

In 2014, Russian-backed rebels in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas – collectively known as the Donbass – declared independence from Ukrainian government rule, beginning a battle with the Ukrainian army.

On Tuesday, Russia’s lower house of parliament voted to request that President Vladimir Putin recognise the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk. Putin remained tight-lipped about his preparations for retaliation.

Kyslytsya said the decision jeopardises the Minsk agreements and asked the United Nations Security Council to discuss it at its meeting in New York on Thursday.

Since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014, the United Nations Security Council has convened dozens of times to discuss the Ukraine situation. It is unable to act since Russia, together with France, the United Kingdom, China, and the United States, has veto power.

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