Putin orders recognition of documents issued by separatist 'republics' in Ukraine

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

London [U.K.], Feb. 19 (ANI): Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an executive order recognising all documents issued by militias and granting visa-free travel to anyone living in self-declared separatist republics in eastern Ukraine. Putin's latest order will be seen as another development indicating that despite its repeated denials of backing Ukrainian rebels, Russia will not lessen its political support. A Kremlin statement said the order was "guided by universally recognised principles and standards of international humanitarian law and in order to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals", reports the Independent. The order also gives birth, marriage and death certificates, identification, qualification, vehicle registration certificates and other documents issued by pro-Russian rebel "authorities" official recognition in Russia. Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, claimed the recognition was afforded so "Donbass residents" can enter Russia legally, with thousands already fleeing over the border as asylum seekers. Putin's order was released hours after American Vice President Mike Pence told an international conference the US would "hold Russia accountable" for its actions. Earlier, U.S. President Donald Trump made a series of seemingly friendly statements towards Putin during his campaign and dismissed allegations of Russian interference in the election, but recently has adopted a more combative tone in following international pressure over Ukraine. The President accused Russia of using force to "take" Crimea, which it annexed from Ukraine in 2014, last week amid a fresh round of allegations over links between his administration and the Kremlin. (ANI)