During a meeting with the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, in the Kremlin, Putin explained the decision was taken after Kiev authorities declared they had no intention of complying with the 2015 Minsk agreements, to achieve a settlement of the internal conflict in eastern Ukraine.
He recalled those agreements attempted to reach a peaceful agreement, but the civilians of the Donbass region remained for eight years blocked and under constant military pressure.
Regarding Russian recognition of the DPR and the RPL, the head of state warned Guterres that in the documents of the International Court of Justice of the UN on the situation in Kosovo, it is stipulated that “by resorting to its right to self-determination, a territory of a State is not obliged to request permission to declare its independence from the central authorities of the country.
He pointed out this was the way in which the Kosovo case and the decision of the International Court was treated. Such ruling “was supported by all”, he said.
“If so, then the Donbass republics have the same right to declare their sovereignty without resorting to the central authorities of Ukraine, because a precedent was created,” he emphasized.
The president commented that although the UN does not recognize Kosovo, it did “recognize the essence” of the situation.
He stated that in such a context, when those republics declared themselves independent, Russia also had the right to recognize their sovereignty.
“This is what many states of the world, including our opponents in the West, did in relation to Kosovo. Kosovo is recognized by many countries. It is a fact,” he stressed. Putin stressed that Russia did the same in relation to the Donbass republics.
For his part, the highest representative of the world body reiterated his proposal to create a Humanitarian Contact Group made up of the UN, Russia and Ukraine to organize humanitarian corridors.
“We are faced with a series of situations when Russia announces the creation of a corridor, Ukraine announces the creation of another corridor. The situation is such this is not being implemented in practice,” Guterres said.
He stated that the intention of the group is that the parties can discuss the situation together in such a way these corridors are really effective and no one has excuses to avoid their creation.
He said that the UN, together with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), is ready to ensure the evacuation of civilians from the city of Mariupol in the directions they choose, both to Russia and to the territories controlled by Kiev.
“It will be a longer process, but we need to establish specific forms of cooperation, this interests us,” he added.