German chancellor condemns Putin plans to recognize breakaway regions in Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans to recognize two breakaway territories in eastern Ukraine as independent.

Putin told Scholz during a call on Monday that he planned to sign an order “soon” that would recognize the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic as independent, according to a statement from the Kremlin cited by CNN. Putin also reportedly informed French President Emmanuel Macron of his plans.

The chancellor’s office denounced the idea, writing in a statement that it would be a “one-sided breach” of the Minsk agreement, which tamed the hostilities in the Donbas region, according to Reuters.

Scholz, during the phone call, also encouraged Putin to remove Russian troops from the Ukrainian border and deescalate the tensions in the region.

The office said Scholz would discuss the current situation in Ukraine with top figures in Kyiv and France, Reuters reported.

Putin’s reported recognition of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic as independent will likely set up a confrontation against Kyiv and its Western allies, which have been readying sanctions in the face of possible military aggression by Russia.

Moscow has amassed more than 150,000 troops on the Ukrainian border.

President Biden on Friday said he is “convinced” that Putin has “made the decision” to invade Ukraine, but emphasized that a diplomatic path forward will remain open until the last possible minute.

If Russia does, however, launch an incursion, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned that a “swift” and “severe” response would follow from the U.S. and its allies.

Updated at 3:52 p.m.

Tags Antony Blinken Emmanuel Macron Joe Biden Vladimir Putin

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