In a move that was a response to a similar move by Kyiv and in support of its close ally Russia, the Syrian Arab Republic announced on Wednesday that it was breaking diplomatic relations with Ukraine.
Syrian foreign ministry official confirmed for the state news agency SANA that Damascus has decided to sever ties with Ukraine in conformity with the principle of reciprocity and in response to the decision of the Ukrainian government.
After Syria recognized late last month the independence of the Russian-backed breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced he was severing ties with Damascus.
Apart from Russia in February, Syria was the first country to recognize the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, which are situated in the Donbas region at the center of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Back in 2018, Damascus recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two other Russian-sponsored breakaway republics, which are internationally recognized as part of Georgia. The Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad relied heavily on Russian support in his country’s decade-old civil war.
Meanwhile, the White House has accused Russia, citing intelligence, of seeking to annex Ukrainian territory it has seized during nearly five months of war by establishing the rouble as the currency in Russian-controlled parts of eastern Ukraine and installing proxy officials.
The chief US National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby pointed out that the Russians are also preparing to force residents to apply for citizenship.
Following Kirby’s briefing on Wednesday, Russian forces have allegedly shelled eastern and southern Ukraine.