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UN General Secretary António Guterres | Pc: File image

United Nations: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday voiced great concern over Russia’s decision to recognise Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine as independent , saying Moscow’s decision is a violation” of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and inconsistent with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees to recognise the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics as independent.

The move was strongly condemned by the US, which said that the decision represents a complete rejection” of Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements, directly contradicts Russia’s claimed commitment to diplomacy, and is a clear attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

UN Secretary-General Guterres is greatly concerned by the decision by the Russian Federation related to the status of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, a statement issued by the spokesperson of the UN chief said.

He calls for the peaceful settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, in accordance with the Minsk agreements, as endorsed by the Security Council in resolution 2202 (2015), the statement said.

Guterres considers the decision of the Russian Federation to be a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and inconsistent with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, it said.

He urged all relevant actors to focus their efforts on ensuring an immediate cessation of hostilities, protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure, preventing any actions and statements that may further escalate the dangerous situation in and around Ukraine and prioritising diplomacy to address all issues peacefully, it added.

Following Putin’s decision that threatens to further escalate tensions in the region, the UN Security Council, under Russia’s Presidency for the month, decided to hold an emergency open briefing on Ukraine on Monday night.

Guterres said that the United Nations, in line with the relevant General Assembly resolutions, remains fully supportive of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, within its internationally recognised borders.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order that will prohibit all new investment, trade, and financing by US persons to, from, or in the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics regions of Ukraine.

We will continue to coordinate with Ukraine and our allies and partners to take appropriate steps in response to this unprovoked and unacceptable action by Russia, he said, adding that states have an obligation not to recognise a new state created through the threat or use of force, as well as an obligation not to disrupt another state’s borders.

Russia’s decision is yet another example of President Putin’s flagrant disrespect for international law and norms, Blinken said.

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