Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

36 hours left in this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the public

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks in Moscow on February 21, 2022. (Photo: Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

'Very Dangerous': Putin Authorizes 'Peacekeeping' Forces for Eastern Ukraine

Ukraine's foreign minister appealed for diplomacy, saying "it's exactly now that we all should calmly focus on de-escalation efforts."

Common Dreams staff

This is a developing news story... Check back for possible updates...

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday formally recognized Donetsk and Luhansk—two self-proclaimed people's republics in eastern Ukraine—as independent, a move opposed by the leadership of Ukraine and Western powers.

After a lengthy address to the Russian public, Putin signed documents recognizing the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), which have been subjects of tension and conflict between Russia and Ukraine for nearly a decade. Subsequently, Putin issued separate decrees instructing the nation's defense ministry to assume "the function of peacekeeping" in the breakaway regions.

No deployment of forces has been determined, but the latest developments only intensified existing tensions over Ukraine.

"True friends of Ukraine, and of global peace, should be calling for a U.S. and NATO compromise with Russia."

Putin's move came after the Kremlin announced that the Russian leader had notified French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz by phone that he would soon recognize the LPR and DPR.

"Vladimir Putin informed [Macron and Scholz] about the results of the expanded meeting of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, which considered the current situation around Donbas in the context of the State Duma's decision on the recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics," the Kremlin said. "Today, the leadership of the DPR and LPR received appeals to recognize their sovereignty in connection with the military aggression of the Ukrainian authorities, the massive shelling of the territory of Donbas, as a result of which the civilian population is suffering."

The Kremlin noted that Macron and Scholz "expressed their disappointment with this development" but still "indicated their readiness to continue contacts." Last week, France's foreign minister said he would view any recognition of DPR and LPR as "an attack without weapons."

In his address on Monday, Putin denounced Western nations—particularly the United States—for pouring weapons into Ukraine and reiterated his view that Ukraine joining NATO would represent a serious security threat to Russia.

The situation is "like having a knife against our throat," argued Putin, who said that Russia has "a right to take countermeasures to enhance our own security."

Following Putin's announcement, the White Housecalled the move a "blatant violation" of international agreements signed by Moscow and announced it would move swiftly to impose trade restrictions on the eastern areas of Ukraine.

In a statement, press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would be signing an executive order to "prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by U.S. persons to, from, or in the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine." The statement said the order from Biden would also “provide authority to impose sanctions on any person determined to operate in those areas of Ukraine," but stipulated these measures were separate from others that would be imposed against Russia if it was to "further invade" Ukraine.

Shortly ahead of Putin's speech, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba characterized the Russian president's expected move as an escalation but added that "it's exactly now that we all should calmly focus on de-escalation efforts."

"No other way," he wrote on Twitter.

Writing in the Financial Times on Monday, economist and Columbia University professor Jeffrey D. Sachs put himself among those calling for a diplomatic solution, including an agreement by the U.S. to compromise on NATO expansion.

"As misguided as the Russian actions are," argued Sachs, "American intransigence regarding Nato enlargement is also utterly misguided and risky. True friends of Ukraine, and of global peace, should be calling for a U.S. and NATO compromise with Russia—one that respects Russia's legitimate security interests while fully backing Ukraine's sovereignty."

Putin's decision Monday came shortly after he and Biden—after speaking with Macron—agreed "in principle" to hold a summit on Ukraine amid global fears of a conflict involving the U.S. and Russia.

Neither Putin nor Biden committed to a specific date for such a meeting, but the prospect of continued dialogue left open the possibility of averting a war involving two nations that together possess more than 90% of the world's nuclear weapons.

"The presidents believe it is important to intensify efforts to find solutions through diplomatic means," the Kremlin said following Putin's conversation with Macron.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

'We Will Fight! We Will Win!': Nearly 200 Abortion Rights Defenders Arrested in DC

"If people don't see the rage," said one woman at the protest, "nothing changes."

Jon Queally ·

Federal Abortion Ban Desired by GOP Would Increase Maternal Deaths by 24%: Study

"Pregnancy shouldn't kill people—in fact, in other rich countries it very rarely does," said the lead author of the new analysis.

Jake Johnson ·

Naomi Klein: The US Is in the Midst of a 'Shock-and-Awe Judicial Coup'

"The rolling judicial coup coming from this court is by no means over," warned the author of "The Shock Doctrine."

Jake Johnson ·

Markey, Bowman Join Climate Coalition in Urging SCOTUS Expansion

"We cannot sit idly by," said Markey, "as extremists on the Supreme Court eviscerate the authorities that the government has had for decades to combat climate change and reduce pollution."

Brett Wilkins ·

Ocasio-Cortez Says US 'Witnessing a Judicial Coup in Process'

"It is our duty to check the Court's gross overreach of power in violating people's inalienable rights and seizing for itself the powers of Congress and the president."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo