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MADRID, July 20 (.) –
The Syrian authorities announced on Wednesday the breaking off of diplomatic relations with Ukraine, nearly three weeks after kyiv did the same in response to Damascus’ decision to recognize the independence of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, located in the Donbas region (east).
Sources from the Syrian Foreign Ministry quoted by the Syrian state news agency, SANA, have indicated that the decision has been adopted “in line with the principle of reciprocity and in response to the decision of the Ukrainian Government in this regard”, although they have underlined that Damascus considers that relations are broken since 2018.
Thus, they have stated that this year Ukraine “refused to renew residence visas for Syrian diplomats working at the Syrian Embassy in kyiv, which made it impossible for them to carry out their duties.” “The Embassy suspended its functions as a result of the hostile attitudes of the Ukrainian Government”, they have riveted.
Relations between Ukraine and Syria have been affected since 2016, when kyiv ordered to close its Embassy in Damascus and, two years later, to do the same with the Syrian Embassy in Ukraine. Since then, the Ukrainian diplomatic mission in Lebanon has been protecting the interests of Ukrainian citizens in Syria.
The Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenski, announced at the end of June the rupture of diplomatic relations and maintained that “Russia has forced Syria to send the message about the supposed recognition of the occupation structures in Donbas as presumed states.” He also said that “the pressure of the sanctions against Syria will be even greater.”
After the start of the invasion of Ukraine, the Syrian president, Bashar al Assad, stressed that the offensive represented a “correction of history” and stated that Moscow “not only defends itself, but also defends the world and the principles of justice and humanity.
Russia is one of the main international supporters of the Syrian president and its military intervention in 2015 allowed government forces to repel rebel advances and regain the initiative on the battlefield.