Vladimir Putin during state of the nation speech, January 15, 2020 (Photo Credit:

Following a meeting of Russia’s Security Council, President Vladimir Putin has announced that he will decide on Monday whether to recognize the two self-declared breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in Ukraine’s war-torn Donbass region.

Speaking at the end of the session, during which government ministers and the head of the country’s security agencies claimed that the humanitarian situation across the border is worsening, Putin said that “I have heard your opinions. A decision will be made today,” before ending the meeting.

Among the members of the council calling for the Kremlin to back the recognition of the rebel-held territories was Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, who alleged that tactical nuclear weapons could be deployed by Ukrainian government forces and argued that Kiev is preparing to resolve the standoff in the east of the country by force.