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Putin Claims Ukrαiniαn Government Actions “Resemble Genocide” in Donbass

Amid rising tensions between Moscow and NATO over ongoing the civil wαr in Ukraine, Russiαn President Vladimir Putin stated on December 9 that the situation in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass regions resembled a genocide. “We can see clearly and know what is happening in the Donbass right now. This, of course, very much resembles a genocide, about which you have spoken,” he said when speaking to Ukrαiniαn journalist Kirill Vyshinsky.

The statement was made at a meeting of the Russiαn council for the development of civil society and human rights, with Putin implying that the Russophobia allegedly being encouraged by the Kiev government was a step towards genocide of the country’s large Russiαn minority. This came as Russiαn state media outlets long focused on the growing bans on the Russiαn language and on symbols of Russiαn history in the country. “We need to act very carefully so as not to devalue the meaning of these concepts,” Putin said, highlighting that the concepts should reflect the realities of events on the ground.

Ukrαiniαn Military Personnel
Allegations of genocide have frequently been used as pretexts for military action or other hostile policies, and the timing of Putin’s statement amid growing Western claims of possible Russiαn intent to take military action against Ukrαine could well raise such concerns further. Ukrαine and Russiαn were the two largest economies in the Soviet Union and maintained relatively positive relations after 1991, but the overthrow of the Ukrαiniαn government in 2014 with Western support resulted in both limited Russiαn intervention in the country’s eastern regions and adoption of a strongly anti-Russiαn stance by the new Kiev government.

The mainly Russiαn speaking populations in the country’s Donbass regions have been waging wαr against the central government since 2014, with reports varying on the levels of Russiαn support received. The wαr has k.il.l.ed an estimated 31,000 people and displaced over 2.5 million, close to 1 million of whom currently reside in Russiα as refugees.

Reservists of the 130th battalion of the Ukrαiniαn Territorial Defence Forces attend military exercises on outskirts of Kyiv, Ukrαine April 10, 2021. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko