Leonid Tibilov, president of South Ossetia, has signed a decree that recognises the independence of the Lugansk Republic, in eastern Ukraine.
“I decree that the Lugansk People’s Republic be recognised as a sovereign, independent State,” the presidential decree states, unanimously upheld by the South Ossetian Parliament.
Tibilov has already entrusted the South Ossetia Ministry of Foreign Affairs to carry out negotiations for establishing diplomatic relations with the Lugansk Republic.
Two regions of Eastern Ukraine, Lugansk ad Donetsk, rebelled against Kiev after the coup d’état which took place at the end of last February and proclaimed themselves “people’s republics” and held self-determination referenda in May, announcing their secession from the Ukraine.
On June 11, the Lugansk People’s Republic requested recognition by Abkhazia, Armenia, Byelorussia, China, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Nicaragua, South Ossetia, Russia, Serbia, Syria, Transnistria and Venezuela, as well as the Russian Norcaucasian Republic of Chechenia and Ingushetia. At this time, South Ossetia is the only one who has responded to this petition.
Meanwhile, the Central Government of Ukraine is continuing with a military operation begun in mid-April against pro-independence militants in Lugansk and Donetsk. Russia urges an immediate cease-fire of this “punitive” operation that has caused hundreds of deaths and wounded.
The South Ossetia Republic, formerly an autonomous entity in the heart of Georgia, has been recognised by Russia and various other countries as a result of the Russian-Georgian war in August 2008.