Putin Orders Deployment of Troops to Breakaway Regions in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into two breakaway regions of Ukraine after recognizing their independence, a move that threatened to scuttle negotiations with the West over the future security of Eastern Europe.
His two decrees were published on the Russian government’s legal portal after a televised address late Monday in which Mr. Putin laid out grievances about the West’s support of Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Western arms deliveries to Kyiv against the backdrop of a massive Russian troop buildup near its borders.
A column of Russian military vehicles entered Donetsk overnight, according to witnesses and footage posted on social media. The local authorities, however, haven’t made any announcements. Eduard Basurin, one of the leaders of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, said he wasn’t aware of the Russian troops’ arrival, according to the Moscow’s RIA news agency.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday that Russia’s decision to recognize the Donetsk and Luhansk statelets simply “legalizes its troops that were in fact already deployed in the occupied regions of Donbas since 2014.”
“A country that has been fomenting war for eight years cannot be working for peace as it claims,” he said in a past-midnight speech to the nation. He urged Ukrainians to keep calm. “We know the difference between provocations and an offensive by the aggressor troops,” he said. “For now, there is no reason for chaos. We have long been ready for anything. There is no reason for you to have a sleepless night.”

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