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Credit…Sergei Ponomarev for The New York Times

MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin announced late Monday that Russia would recognize the independence of two Ukrainian territories controlled by Moscow-backed separatists, putting Europe further down the path many fear one of the biggest conflicts in Europe since the Second World War.

Sir. Putin gave a lengthy televised speech in which he accused Ukraine of being a “puppet” of the United States and said its citizens were being brutalized by their government.

“As for those who captured and maintain power in Kiev, we demand that they immediately cease all military action,” Putin said. “Otherwise, the entire responsibility for the possibility of continued bloodshed will lie fully and entirely with the conscience of the regime that rules the territory of Ukraine.”

Mr. Putin argued that Ukraine is, by its history and composition, an integral part of Russia. “Colleagues, comrades, relatives, relatives, those who are linked with us by family and blood ties,” he said.

Mr Putin also laid out a long history of grievances since the fall of the Soviet Union and the loss of the states that once comprised it.

“We gave these republics the right to leave the union without any conditions,” he said. “It’s just madness.”

Immediately after the speech, Russian state television showed Mr Putin in the Kremlin with the leaders of the two self-declared republics, and signing declarations of “Friendship and mutual aid.”

Mr Putin spoke after the Kremlin said in a statement that he had spoken by telephone with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

“The President of Russia has stated that he intends to sign the corresponding decree in the near future,” the Kremlin said. “The French President and the German Federal Chancellor have expressed their disappointment with this development. At the same time, they indicated that they were ready to continue contacts.

Mr Putin recognizes the territories’ independence, the Kremlin said earlier, in the face of “military aggression by the Ukrainian authorities”, as a result of which “the civilian population is suffering”.

Ukraine denies that it intends to launch a military offensive against the breakaway regions and claims that Russia is organizing acts of Ukrainian aggression to justify an incursion.

His phone calls with German and French leaders came after a special session of the Russian Security Council during which Mr Putin accused the United States and its allies of using Ukraine “as an instrument of confrontation” with the Russia. He said it posed “a serious and very significant threat to us”.

The move is a high-stakes tactic by Mr. Putin that threatens to embroil Russia and Ukraine in a deadly military conflict and sharply escalate Moscow’s conflict with the West.

The separatist enclaves claim all of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions as their territory, while controlling only about a third of it. It was not immediately clear whether Mr Putin would recognize the enclaves within their de facto borders or seek to expand them by force.

Earlier on Monday, Russian state television showed a video of the Russian-backed leaders of the breakaway territories in eastern Ukraine directly calling on Mr Putin to recognize their independence. Russia’s lower house of parliament passed a resolution making such an appeal to Mr Putin last week.

Russia has led a huge troop buildup in northern, eastern and southern Ukraine, which Western officials say could be used to carry out a full-scale invasion.