Russia aware of Minsk Agreements breach by recognising Donetsk, Luhansk

On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov openly admitted that the Kremlin is aware that the recognition of the independence of the self-proclaimed regions of Ukraine: Luhansk and Donetsk, for which it appealed a day earlier would be a violation of the Minsk agreements.

Russia reports withdrawal of some troops from Belarus

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He also told journalists that the head of the Russian state’s priority in regulating the situation in Donbas is implementation of mechanisms adopted under these agreements.

On Tuesday, just after the announcement of withdrawal of some of the Russian troops from around Ukraine was released, Russia’s State Duma, lower house of parliament, voted to appeal to the country’s President to recognise two Russian-backed breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent.

As experts immediately pointed out, the move would kill off the existing Minsk peace process for east Ukraine to which Russia has said it is committed.

EU decry Russian parliament’s call for recognising oblasts seceded from Ukraine

The EU strongly condemns the appeal by the lower house of the Russian parliament to the Russian president for the recognition of the areas of the...

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Ukraine and EU oppose

In response, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine condemned the actions taken by Russia and approved an appeal to the UN, EU institutions, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, NATO, and the governments and parliaments of the world to not recognise the independence of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic.

In the opinion of some Russian independent commentators, efforts to recognise the independence of separatists are part of the pressure Russia is exerting on Kyiv and the West. Representatives of the European Union and NATO pointed out that recognising the independence of Donbas by Russia would mean another violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and international law.

The EU’s support and commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders remain unwavering,” Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs stressed, calling on Moscow to “honour its commitments.”

Ukraine MoD, banks cyberattacked as separatist artillery ramps up

Websites of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces, as well as state-owned Privatbank and Oschadbank have become victims of a distributed...

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Kremlin denies involvement in recent cyber attacks in Ukraine

As reported by the Ukrainian Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security on Tuesday, the country’s Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces websites, as well as that of state-owned Privatbank and Oschadbank have become victims of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) cyberattack.

On Wednesday, the Kremlin denied that Russia was behind the attacks but said that it was “not surprised” that Kyiv would blame Moscow.

Russian military drills at their peak

Russian military exercises are at their peak and the risk of Russian aggression against Ukraine will remain high for the rest of February, a senior Western intelligence official said, adding that the services had established that the greatest period of risk of conflict or an unintended military incident was at the present time.

“We are in it now. I expect things to be really confusing and ambiguous for the next couple of weeks,” he stressed, pointing out that “there are no credible signs at this point that there will be any kind of military de-escalation.”

He pointed out that western intelligence also underlined Russia’s ability to maintain the current forces in place for several more months if Russian President Vladimir Putin “wished so.”