Czech officials denounce President Putin’s decision to recognize breakaway republics

Czech officials have denounced President Putin’s decision to recognize the independence of the breakaway Ukrainian republics of Donetsk and Luhansk as a “breach of the Minsk Agreements and international law”. The Czech Foreign Ministry said the step was a flagrant violation of the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala said that the Czech Republic stands firmly behind a free and independent Ukraine and knows from its own historic experience that such steps never lead to peace.

Defense Minister Jana Černochová called Russia's recognition of the separatist republics in eastern Ukraine an effort to "restore the Soviet Union at the expense of free and sovereign countries." The civilized world must never tolerate that; it is not just Ukraine on Putin's chessboard, we are there as well,” the defense minister tweeted.

The Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Markéta Pekarová Adamová wrote on Twitter that if the Czech Republic were not a member of NATO, it would be similarly threatened as Ukraine.

The Donetsk and Luhansk regions have been contested by Ukraine and Russia-backed rebels for years, with continuing violence despite numerous ceasefire agreements.

Analysts say that in the wake of the republics’ recognition Russia might send troops into eastern Ukraine  under the guise of protecting its citizens.