Putin orders Russian troops to Ukraine after recognising breakaway regions

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By Agencies

MOSCOW: Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian troops to “maintain peace” in two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, hours after the Russian president recognised Donetsk and Luhansk as independent entities.

In two official decrees, Putin on Monday instructed the country’s defence ministry to assume “the function of maintaining peace” in the eastern regions.

n an earlier televised address, Putin said he had deemed “it necessary to make a decision that should have been made a long time ago – to immediately recognise the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic”.

The West has repeatedly warned Russia not to recognise the separatist regions in Donetsk and Luhansk – a move that effectively buries a fragile peace process in the region.

Putin’s announcement paved the way for Russia to openly send troops and weapons to the long-running conflict pitting Ukrainian forces against Moscow-backed rebels.

Map of Ukraine, showing Donetsk, Luhansk, and the city of Marinka