Putin orders troops to enter eastern Ukraine

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Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine on Monday, just hours after he formally recognized the independence of two Moscow-backed breakaway regions in the eastern part of the country.

The order was seen by the United States and its European allies as a dramatic provocation after weeks of warnings that Moscow was trying to create a pretext to invade its neighbor. It led to the U.S. and the European Union announcing sanctions targeting the two areas, with more set to follow, and drew condemnation at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

Putin framed the troop movement as a “peacekeeping” effort in both regions. The move came after days of escalation in the ongoing conflict between Kyiv’s forces and Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine’s east — and hours after he delivered a lengthy speech presenting his view of the relationship between the two nations.

Earlier, some Western leaders had hoped diplomatic progress in eastern Ukraine could provide a route out of the broader, monthslong crisis. Instead this escalation now leaves Europe facing the prospect of a deadly new conflict.

Earlier, some Western leaders had hoped diplomatic progress in eastern Ukraine could provide a route out of the broader, monthslong crisis. Instead this escalation now leaves Europe facing the prospect of a deadly new conflict.

 

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