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RUSSIA

Leaders of factions within Russia's State Duma will hold talks this week on a draft resolution to formally recognise the self-proclaimed Doneck and Luhansk People's Republics as sovereign states, according to lower house speaker Vyacheslav Volodin. The document calling upon President Putin to establish relations with the two secessionist "people's republics" formed in the Donbas region in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution was submitted by the Communist Party last Wednesday. The consultations with faction heads will take place amid a continued escalation of military tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

  • The weekend saw a senior Russian diplomat warn that Moscow would react to any "provocations" targeting its citizens in the Donbas. Separately, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zakharova said that Russia expects to see "informational and military provocations" from Ukraine and the U.S.
  • Russian state media fuelled tensions, circulating reports noting that Ukrainian security forces have deployed missile launcher systems near the border of the DPR and kidnapped an LPR serviceman.
  • Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba told Radio Svoboda that a formal recognition of the DPR and LPR by Moscow would be an "obvious and complete withdrawal by Russia from the Minsk agreements."
  • Comments from Russian government officials have been rather guarded so far, suggesting that the recognition of DPR and LPR is not a done deal. The option of establishing formal relations with the two self-proclaimed republics might serve as Moscow's bargaining chip in security talks with the West.
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3806 | krzysztof.kruk@marketnews.com

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