Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that Russia recognized the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine’s breakaway states in the eastern Donbas region on Monday, February 20th, at 10 pm local time, during an emotional address on Russia’s state-run television seemingly undeterred by threats made by President Biden and the West that this may lead to damaging economic sanctions.

The two eastern Ukraine separatist states, the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), had been controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014 following the Russian annexation of Crimea. Ever since then, Putin has supported these breakaway states in an attempt to expand its territory further. By recognizing these ad-hoc republics as nations, Putin expects that regimes loyal to the Kremlin will invite Russian troops in to protect them from being reclaimed by Ukraine.

Putin had described these two breakaway states as vital portions of Russia’s history, stating that they had claims on the region as they belonged to Russia’s ancient lands. “I deem it necessary to make a decision that should have been made a long time ago, to immediately recognize the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic,” said the Russian President. Furthermore, he claimed that Ukraine was a mere United States colony, a puppet regime where neo-Nazis had flourished and corrupt oligarchic clans dominated the political landscape.

Putin went on to claim that Ukraine proper had always been a part of Russia and that its status as a country was a legal fiction invented by the USSR and therefore had no basis in international law.  This claim by Putin seems mindless of the contradiction of recognizing regions separated from Ukraine by force as of countries themselves when separated from Ukraine, a county Putin claims does not exist. More ominous is that Putin’s claims express the view that the territory of Ukraine and it’s very people belong to Russia, this allows Putin to cast Russia as the country which lost its territory.

The move to recognize the aforementioned states comes after Russia claimed Ukraine was attacking these pro-Russian separatist areas and accused Ukraine of planning a Blitzkrieg, which Ukraine has denied. Ukraine states that all its actions were done in self-defense. Western governments also handed false-flag attacks and other accusations of fakery to Russia. One was the alleged shelling of Ukraine of pro-Russian separatists and a supposed US-discovered plot by Russia to create a fake video of dead Russians killed by Ukrainian troops.

It also comes as another form of undermining of Ukraine’s sovereignty as it still considers Donetsk and Luhansk to be part of its territory and had claimed that it would return ‘peacefully’ during an impassioned speech at the Munich Security Conference.

“Russia says Ukraine seeks to join the Alliance to return Crimea by force. It is gratifying that the words “return Crimea” appear in their rhetoric. But they inattentively read Article 5 of the NATO Charter: collective action is for protection, not offensive. Crimea and the occupied regions of Donbas will certainly return to Ukraine, but only peacefully,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during the conference.