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Syria, Yemen’s Houthis recognise independence of Russia-backed Donetsk, Luhansk

February 22, 2022 at 12:39 pm

Smoke rises from a power plant after shelling outside the town of Schastia, near the eastern Ukraine city of Lugansk, on 22 February 2022, a day after Russia recognised east Ukraine’s separatist republics and ordered the Russian army to send troops there as “peacekeepers.” [ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images]

Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recognition yesterday of two breakaway territories in Eastern Ukraine, the Syrian government and the de-facto Houthi-led government of Yemen have announced their support of Moscow’s declaration that the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk are independent entities.

According to Syria’s state-run SANA, Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad was quoted as saying: “We have been cooperating with the republics of Donetsk and Luhansk for a long time, and we believe that these current conditions will help increase this cooperation.”

“For more than eleven years, Syria has been subjected to an unprecedented terrorist war, and of course everyone knows that we have achieved an important field victory over terrorism thanks to our armed forces and the support of allies and friends, led by Russia,” he added.

Yemen’s National Salvation Government (NSG), based in the capital Sanaa, also announced its backing of “Russia’s recognition of the independence of the Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk,” tweeted Muhammad Ali Al-Houthi, a member of the Supreme Political Council, the executive body of the NSG.

OPINION: No War in Ukraine

Yesterday Putin signed a decree recognising the two regions as independent republics, sending in Russian forces as peacekeepers. In a live televised speech, the Russian president described the internationally-recognised Ukrainian territory as “ancient Russian lands” which were being “managed by foreign powers”. The most widespread native language in both Donetsk and Luhansk is Russian, both regions are collectively known as the Donbas and consist of parts controlled by Kyiv and Russian-backed separatists, who took power in 2014 before holding a vote to declare independence.

Other countries are reportedly set to formally recognise the republics including Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Moscow’s actions were condemned by the US, EU and the NATO alliance. The White House responded by announcing that President Joe Biden will sign an Executive Order issuing economic sanctions on the two separatist regions. Following the declarations of independence, Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, tweeted that Russia’s recognition of the republics “requires a swift and firm response” adding that “we will take appropriate steps in coordination with partners”.

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