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Russia does not plan to deploy troops in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of eastern Ukraine, despite having signed a treaty on mutual assistance with both separatist entities, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said.
“Let’s not speculate. At the moment, we do not plan to deploy anything anywhere,” Rudenko was quoted by Interfax as saying in response to a question about military assistance in Donetsk and Lugansk.
Rudenko noted that Russia may resort to troop deployment, based on the document ratified today by parliamentarians of both sides, if it sees a threat to Donetsk and Luhansk.
“If there is a threat, then, of course, we will provide assistance in accordance with the treaty that has been ratified.”
This Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees recognizing the independence of the two separatist regions, a step condemned by the international community as a violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
The step further aggravates Russia’s confrontation with the West, especially since, under the decrees, Putin leaves the door open to sending troops to Donetsk and Luhansk.
The texts of the bilateral agreements between Russia and Lugansk and Donetsk also involve the protection of their borders jointly with Russia and the possibility of using military bases and military infrastructure.
One of the articles of both treaties expressly states that in order to ensure security, peace, and stability, each of the parties shall grant the other the right to build, use and improve its military infrastructure and military bases on its territory.
The forms of implementation of this right shall be subject to other separate agreements.
In addition, the parties to the agreements will take measures within their power to jointly combat “acts of aggression” by other countries or groups of countries and provide each other with “necessary assistance, including military assistance.”
The signatories to the documents will also hold urgent consultations “when one of the parties considers that there is a threat of attack” in order to jointly ensure the security of the threatened party, the document reads.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said today that Russia “remains open to dialogue” despite Putin’s outbursts and calls for invasion.