Trump, who usually avoided making strong anti-Russia statements, on February 14 demanded that Russian Federation must return control over Crimea to Ukraine, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said, for his part, that the Russian decision to recognize documents issued by the self-proclaimed Donbas republics violated global law. The peace deal brokered by Berlin and Paris between Kiev, Moscow and the Russia-backed rebels in Minsk in 2015 has always been stalled.
The Russian foreign minister hit back by accusing North Atlantic Treaty Organisation of Cold War-era expansionism and blaming the alliance for rising tensions and military deployments in Europe. At the Munich Security Conference, a deal was brokered over the weekend, obligating both parties to cease fire and withdraw weapons from the frontline starting on Monday.
Oleksandr Turchynov, Ukraine’s Secretary of National Security and Defense has said, “By signing this decree, Putin legally recognized quasi-terrorist groups that have this as a fig leaf covering the Russian occupation of Donbass”. We share the same values, and Pence is informed about the situation in eastern Ukraine in detail.
He also dismissed the Ukrainian government’s belief that the move violated the Minsk accord, saying: “These aren’t the documents of an officially recognised state”.
Russian politicians called the Kremlin’s decision a “humanitarian” move.
Russian Federation annexed Crimea in 2014 after the overthrow of the Moscow-supported president Viktor Yanukovych.
The Minsk agreement was inked in February 2015.
Inside Story – Is Russia testing Donald Trump in eastern Ukraine?
The conflict in eastern Ukraine has cost some 10,000 lives since parts of two mostly Russian-speaking eastern regions declared independence from Kiev’s pro-Western government following the ouster of Kremlin-backed president Viktor Yanukovych. USA intelligence say Russian Federation meddled in the U.S. campaign at least partly to support Trump.
The accord agreed by the German, French, Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers followed an increase in fighting in recent weeks, though the prospects for peace in the region appear frail as pro-Russian-rebels and the Ukrainian army have clashed nearly daily for the last 30 months.
Last week, contact groups involving representatives of the fighting parties surprised observers by agreeing new efforts to stop the violence.
“That was cynically done at a time of the Munich Security Conference”, he said, adding that he had informed the USA vice-president about the move.
In a regular media briefing statement, France’s foreign ministry said: “France regrets this decision”.