Putin recognizes independence of LNR and DNR while Zelensky convenes security meeting

On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in his TV address that he recognized the independence of the Luhansk and Donetsk “people’s republics” formed in Ukraine.

Putin’s address began 40 minutes late.

The Russian leader first told his vision of Ukraine’s history. In particular, he stated that Russian communists created Ukraine from Russian territories.

“You want decommunization? Well, that suits us just fine. We are ready to show what real decommunization means for Ukraine,” Putin said.

According to him, after the 2014 revolution in Ukraine, “radicals” allegedly carried out terror against dissenters. He also accused Ukraine of parasitizing the Russian economy for many years. According to him, “Ukraine has been driven under external control.”

“Ukraine’s new military strategy is nothing but preparation for military action against Russia,” he said.

According to him, Russia has evidence that foreign special services support Ukraine’s actions against occupied Crimea, and the Ukrainian armed forces can allegedly be commanded directly by NATO.

Putin also repeated several times that “Ukraine’s accession to NATO is a direct threat to Russia’s security,” even if it happens later. He noted that Ukraine would serve as a forward bridgehead for the alliance’s strike against Russia if it joins NATO.

“Russia has every right to retaliate for its security, and we will do so,” the Russian president said.

Accusing the Ukrainian authorities of allegedly trying to “organize a ‘blitzkrieg’ in the Donbas again,” Putin said:

“Russia recognizes the independence of the LNR and DNR.”

He also asked the parliament to support the conclusion of cooperation agreements with the “republics.”

“And from those who have seized and hold power in Kyiv, we demand an immediate cessation of hostilities. Otherwise, all responsibility for the possible continuation of the bloodshed will be entirely on the conscience of the regime ruling on the territory of Ukraine,” he said.

At the same time, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky convened a National Security and Defense Council meeting in Ukraine.