In a statement on Monday night, the Kremlin said that President Vladimir Putin had informed both Germany’s Olaf Scholz and France’s Emmanuel Macron in phone calls of his decision to recognize the independence of the two breakaway Ukraine republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Both leaders “expressed disappointment” over the move. The decision came after Russia’s top officials made impassioned speeches in favor of recognition at an unscheduled Kremlin security council meeting. This move could pave the way for Russian troops to move into Eastern Ukraine.
Putin opened his address to the nation on his decision with “a history lesson on why Ukraine isn’t a state but a creation by “Bolshevik Russia, by Lenin,” whom he called the “author and architect” of Ukraine.