Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in the Kremlin on Tuesday for talks revolving around the Ukrainian crisis. The two discussed the situation on the ground, with Putin explaining to the UN chief Russia’s reasons for launching its military operation against the neighboring country in late February.
Moscow’s move to recognize the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk was based on the Kosovo precedent, set up by a UN-backed court, Putin told Guterres. The republics emerged after people living in Ukraine’s east rejected the Western-backed 2014 Maidan, he explained.
Putin added that the post-coup Kiev government opted for a military solution that led to the eight-year standoff in the Donbass.
“I remember very well the decision of the International Court of Justice, which states that in exercising the right to self-determination, a territory of any state is not obliged to apply for permission to declare its sovereignty to the central authorities of the country,” Putin said.
Guterres pointed out that the UN itself still does not recognize Kosovo as an independent entity, viewing it as a part of Serbia. Putin, however, parried that the legal precedent still exists, as Kosovo received wide recognition in the West.