Russia's recognition of DPR/LPR documents at odds with Donbas peace process
Russia's recognition of documents issued in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions contradicts the Donbas settlement goals, the OSCE said in a statement posted on its website on Tuesday.
"The OSCE chairmanship expresses strong concern about this measure taken by the Russian Federation," the statement said.
"In our view, this decree is in contradiction to the objectives of the settlement process in eastern Ukraine," it said.
"The OSCE Chairmanship notes that documents issued on the sovereign territory of Ukraine are only valid if done so by the internationally recognized authorities," the statement said.
"While the OSCE Chairmanship supports efforts to normalize the situation of people living in Donbas and to encourage freedom of movement, it cautions that this should be done in full compliance with OSCE principles and commitments as well as the Minsk agreements," the statement said.
"Unilateral actions jeopardize efforts to resolve the crisis in and around Ukraine," it said.
Meanwhile, OSCE Secretary-General Lamberto Zannier said on Monday that the Russian president's decision to recognize documents issued by Donbas areas that the Ukrainian authorities do not control would not help settle the crisis in eastern Ukraine.
Such moves of Moscow are a step back from the already distant goal of ending the war in Donbas, he said, noting it would now be harder to implement the Minsk agreements.
The Kremlin has actually recognized documents issued by the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics and their leaders, Zannier said.
On February 18, President Vladimir Putin signed the Executive Order On Recognition in the Russian Federation of Documents and Vehicle Registration Plates Issued to Ukrainian Citizens and Stateless Persons Permanently Residing in Certain Districts of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk Regions.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said, for his part, that the Russian decision to recognize documents issued by the self-proclaimed Donbas republics violated international law.
"To my mind, this is another proof of Russian occupation and breach of the international law," Poroshenko said after he had met with U.S. Vice-President Michael Pence on Saturday.
"That was cynically done at a time of the Munich Security Conference," he said, adding that he had informed the U.S. vice-president about the move.
In turn, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said that the decision of Moscow to recognize documents issued by certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions disagreed with the logic of the Minsk agreements.
"This is the logic of intentional escalation, the logic going through Avdiyivka; this is not just the logic of military escalation, this is the logic of humanitarian escalation, as well. This order is at variance with the very logic of the Minsk agreements in an absolutely fundamental way, and we are perfectly aware why this has been done," Klimkin told reporters in Munich on Saturday.