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Donbass Recognition Makes It Harder for US to Use Ukraine Against Russia - Ex-US Official

© Sputnik / Сергей Аверин / Go to the mediabankDonbass militiaman holds up piece of shell fired on his comrades' position by Kiev forces in Western Donetsk. 15 February 2022.
Donbass militiaman holds up piece of shell fired on his comrades' position by Kiev forces in Western Donetsk. 15 February 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.02.2022
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Russia recognising the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent makes it harder for the United States to use Ukraine and the conflict in its breakaway regions as leverage against Moscow, former US Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts told Sputnik.
On Monday, President Vladimir Putin signed decrees recognising the independence of the Donbass republics, saying that the decision was long overdue.
Roberts believes that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky might actually be "relieved" by Russia's move.

"Zelensky has not been able to function as president, because he is caught between Washington and the CIA controlled neo-Nazi militias and is up for re-election", he said. "Now that Russia has given recognition to the republics, Zelensky can resist Washington's push to use Ukraine's military to attack the Donbass Russians. Zelensky will gain authority from the Kremlin's decision as the decision will make it more difficult for Washington to use Ukraine against Russia. Of course, Washington won't stop trying".

Roberts noted that Russia has tried for eight years to resolve the Donbass crisis and treated the region as a part of Ukraine. He referred to the open part of the Russian Security Council meeting on Monday that preceded Putin's decision during which "various members discussed their eight years of frustrations with negotiating with the US, NATO, EU that never went anywhere".
"It is impossible not to admire the patience of the Russians, although it was patience at the expense of the lives of Donbass Russians", he stated. "Today the Russian government ran out of patience, and I don't think they will have much patience with the West in the future".
When asked about Ukraine's NATO prospects, Roberts doubted that it would become a member.

"Unless Russia collapses militarily, Ukraine will never become a NATO member", he said.

When tensions around Ukraine flared late last year, Russia published its security suggestions for NATO and the United States. Moscow specifically requested guarantees that the alliance would not expand eastward to include Ukraine and Georgia, to which Washington has replied by insisting it will not allow anyone to slam NATO's open-door policy shut.
The situation in Donbass has further escalated in recent days, with the DPR and LPR reporting increased shelling by Ukrainian armed forces and ordering general mobilisation in anticipation of an offensive by the Ukrainian Army. The evacuation of Donbass citizens, first of all, women, children and the elderly, to Russia began late last week.
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