Russia’s recognition of passports issued by separatist republics undermines peace efforts – OSCE

Russia’s decision to recognize identification documents issued by separatists in eastern Ukraine will hurt the chances for a cease-fire to take hold, OSCE Secretary-General Lamberto Zannier said on February 19.

A day earlier, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed an order authorizing the recognition of documents issued by the separatist-led, self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic.

“The steps taken last night by Russia to recognize these documents are making implementation more difficult,” the OSCE head told RFE/RL referring to the Minsk agreement that imposed a cease-fire and set out a plan for resolving the conflict in February 2015.

The Russian move ‘implies…recognition of those who issue the documents’ and ‘makes us think of Abkhazia-like situations’, he stressed.

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko took the recognition of passports as ‘another evidence of Russian occupation’ and violation of international law. ЭIt is very symbolical and cynical that it happened during the Munich Security Conference,” he noted.

The Kremlin’s press service says that it was done ‘so as to protect rights and freedoms of a person and a citizen and in accordance with generally accepted principles and norms of international humanitarian law’. According to the decree, these measures are ‘provisional until a political solution is found to the situation in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine on the basis of the Minsk agreements’.

Analysts say Russia hopes to continue to use them as long as it can to destabilize Ukraine and maintain pressure on its pro-Western government., via RFE/RL

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