On Tuesday, the lower house in Russia will decide whether it will ask President Vladimir Putin to recognize separatist regions in eastern Ukraine as independent states. However, the Russian news agency Interfax reported Monday a vote on this has been postponed by 24 hours.
According to a source, the parliamentarians are presented with two options about the areas in the Donbas. One asks Putin to recognize the so-called People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk directly, while the other requires consultations with the foreign and defence ministries and other government agencies.
The plan to recognize the regions as independent was presented in parliament in mid-January by 11 parliamentarians, including the leader of the Communist Party. They said this move is necessary to protect residents from outside threats.
The Speaker of the House of Commons said on Friday that the vote might be postponed. He also said at the time that only two groups wanted Putin to recognize the regions as independent states immediately. Together they hold 85 of the 450 seats. The proposal for consultation with government agencies comes from members of United Russia. This party has 325 seats in the House of Commons.
The government in Kyiv has been embroiled in a civil war with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine since 2014. Moscow supports the two separatist regions both militarily and financially. Efforts to bring peace there are expected to be hampered if the Russians recognize the republics at a time when many are concerned about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine.