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The State Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament, today approved an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin to recognize the independence of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in eastern Ukraine.
In favor of the respective resolution, submitted by the Communist parliamentary group, 351 deputies out of 450 in the Duma voted.
“The resolution will be signed immediately and sent to the head of state,” said Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, quoted by Interfax agency.
The Communists’ proposal prevailed over an alternative draft resolution submitted by the ruling United Russia party, which won 310 votes.
The defeated motion envisaged consultations with the Foreign Ministry and other governmental structures on the recognition of pro-Russian separatists before addressing Putin.
Shortly before the vote in the Duma, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “it is no secret to anyone that Russian public opinion reacts vividly to everything that is happening in the Donbas,” where Moscow-backed pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian Army have been clashing since 2014.
Russia has delivered more than 700,000 passports to citizens of these two regions.
At the same time, Peskov stressed that Russia is in favor of the fulfillment of the Minsk Agreements on the settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which recognize the territories not controlled by the Kyiv government as part of Ukraine.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba warned today that Russia’s recognition of the self-proclaimed people’s republics will mean “de jure and de facto” denunciation of the Minsk Agreements, with all the ensuing consequences.
On Monday, Chairman of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) Ruslan Stefanchuk said that the deputies are preparing a document in which the legislature will once again reiterate that Donetsk and Luhansk belong to Ukraine.