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Putin says US and NATO have turned Ukraine into a ‘theatre of potential military action against Russia’

Last week, the Biden administration cautioned that recognizing the self-declared “People’s Republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region would be a violation of international law and Ukraine’s sovereignty, requiring “a fast and robust response” from America and its allies. At a special OSCE meeting on the crisis on Monday, Michael Carpenter, the United States ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), said the US has received reports of “forced mobilization of men and boys, taken against their will to assembly points and then on to the front lines in the Russian-controlled parts of Donetsk and Luhansk.”

“We think that the men and boys are being conscripted against their will for a possible military conflict,” an OSCE spokeswoman told CBS News. The Russian president’s decision on Monday effectively signals that Moscow is no longer interested in negotiating with the West to find a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis based on cease-fire agreements reached eight years ago, which both sides have consistently cited as the only viable framework for a deal.

Putin said he will decide whether to formally recognize the breakaway republics’ independence during an unusual public meeting of his security council in Moscow earlier this week. Members of the council made impassioned comments in favor of the move during that meeting.”The goal of our meeting today is to listen to our colleagues and map out our next moves in this matter, meaning both the requests by the leaders of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic to Russia asking to recognize their sovereignty,” Putin opened the meeting by saying. At the end of the event, he told the council: “I have heard your opinions. The decision will be taken today.”

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