The Kremlin announced on Monday that President Vladimir Putin would recognize the independence of two territories in eastern Ukraine that are controlled by Russian-backed separatists, The New York Times reports. The recognition of the Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic could give Russia a pretext to invade Ukraine, and breaches a 2015 peace agreement meant to return the two regions to Ukrainian control.
The Kremlin said on Monday that Putin "intended to sign the relevant decree in the near future … The president of France and the Federal Chancellor of Germany expressed their disappointment with this development. At the same time, they indicated their readiness to continue contacts." With this latest announcement, prospects for a possible invasion-averting summit between Putin and President Biden now seem increasingly remote.