Denmark condemns Russian recognition of separatist Ukrainian regions

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen late on Monday issued a statement following developments in Ukraine which saw Russian president Vladimir recognise the separatist Ukrainian regions Donetsk and Luhansk.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen condemned Russia's decision to recognise two separatist regions in Ukraine. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Putin has ordered his military to enter the two separatist areas of southeast Ukraine on “peacekeeping duties” following the decision to recognise them as independent states, international media reported.

Frederiksen said the decision by Putin was a clear breach of international law.

“Russia’s decision to recognize the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine as independent is a blatant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and international law. Denmark condemns the decision, which will not go unanswered. We stand side by side with Ukraine,” Frederiksen said in a statement released via the Prime Minister’s office.

The UN Security Council has condemned of Russia over the move and the EU has promised sanctions, calling the Russian recognition of the two separatist republics a “blatant violation of international law”.

Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod also condemned Putin’s decision in a statement.

“I condemn in the strongest terms Putin’s decision to recognise the two Russian-backed separatist areas in east Ukraine,” Kofod said in a statement.

“It is a direct breach of international law and a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and Russia’s international obligations,” he said.

The recognition of the two publics represents a new escalation of the conflict by Russia, he said.

“I am disappointed Russia has not chosen dialogue,” he said.

Putin said in a television broadcast on Monday evening that that he would recognise the two separatist entities as independent from Ukraine.

The recognition paves the way for Russia to send troops into the two regions.

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UPDATED: Denmark’s government supports Ukraine EU candidacy 

Denmark’s government has said it will support Ukraine’s bid for EU membership after the European Commission deemed the country’s candidacy viable.

UPDATED: Denmark's government supports Ukraine EU candidacy 

Ukraine’s bid to be part of the EU got a majority backing in Danish Parliament on Friday after the European Commission backed the bid.

“It is really, really important that Europe opens the door for Ukraine, so that we can get started to ensure that Ukraine can be ready for EU membership,” foreign affairs spokesperson Michael Aastrup told newswire Ritzau.

Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said on Twitter that Denmark was looking forward to continuing cooperation with Ukraine on reforms.

The possibility for Ukraine to become part of the EU is conditional on Ukraine implementing reforms – on rule of law, oligarchs, human rights and tackling corruption – European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday. She added that “good work has been done.”

Candidacy status is a significant step to joining the EU but the whole process can take years.

“When a candidate’s status is granted, it is not the same as Ukraine being ready to join the EU. There are a large number of criteria to be met and there are a large number of outstanding ones that Ukraine lacks. These are some of the things that are being addressed”, Michael Aastrup said.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen will attend a meeting in Brussels next week where the recommendation from the European Commission will be voted and signed off by the EU’s 27 member states. France, Germany and Italy have also already backed Ukraine’s bid but the decision has to be unanimous.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has said that status as a candidate for EU membership is vital to his country, while the country’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has said the question could be decisive in the war to defend Ukraine from invasion by Russia.

READ MORE: Number of Ukrainian refugees working in Denmark triples in one month