The Duma asks Putin to recognize the ‘republics’ of Donetsk and Lugansk in Ukraine

Pending: Does the Russian Duma support the independence of the separatist 'republics' of eastern UkraineThe Russian Duma.GETTY IMAGES

351 deputies, out of a total of 450, have voted in favor of supporting independence

The Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk proclaimed themselves as republics

Moscow says it has begun withdrawing troops from the border

The Russian Duma takes the step to recognize the self-proclaimed separatist republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, in the Donbas region, in eastern Ukraine. The lower house on Tuesday approved an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin to support its independence. 351 deputies, of the 450 that make up the Duma, have voted in favor of that resolution. Russian deputies have studied two draft resolutions “on the appeal to President to recognize Donetsk and Lugansk”. This initiative, promoted under the argument that it will help “guarantee the security and protection of their peoples”, was proposed by the Russian communists on January 19. The president of the Duma, Viacheslav Volodin, pointed out on Monday that the initiative already had the support of two other parliamentary groups, that of Just Russia and that of the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party.He has assured that the ruling party, United Russia (which has the majority in the Duma) also land the defense of Russian citizens living in Donbas is concerned. The Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk have experienced, since 2014, a armed conflict between government troops and pro-Russian separatists. According to the United Nations, it has caused some 13,000 deaths. All of this comes amid fears of an invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which has more than 100,000 troops deployed to the border. This Tuesday, the Russian Ministry of Defense has assured that some troops positioned on the border with the former Soviet republic are returning to their bases after completing military maneuvers, according to the Interfax news agency quoted by the British network BBC. Still the same agency ensures that large-scale maneuvers continue throughout the country.”The detachments of the South and West military districts that fulfilled their missions are preparing this Tuesday to return to their bases on trains and troop transfer vehicles,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said. Even so, these detachments will remain relatively close to the Russian border with Ukraine.

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