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.