MOSCOW, Feb. 24 — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday authorized “a special military operation” in response to the appeal of the leaders of the “republics” in the Donbas region.
Putin on Monday signed two decrees recognizing “the Lugansk People’s Republic” and “the Donetsk People’s Republic” as independent and sovereign states.
“Our plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territories. We are not going to impose anything on anyone by force,” he said.
Putin called on “all people living on the territory of today’s Ukraine” to “independently determine the future of their own and children.”
NATO has created fundamental threats year after year, expanding to the east and bringing its military infrastructure closer to Russian borders, Putin noted.
Russia will not allow Ukraine to have nuclear weapons, he said, adding that Russia’s actions are not connected with infringing upon Ukraine’s interests but with protecting itself from “those who take Ukraine hostage.”
In case of external interference in the situation in Ukraine, Russia will respond immediately, he said. (Xinhua)