Parliament grants Putin request to use Russia’s military to back Ukraine separatists
Russia’s parliament approved President Vladimir Putin’s request to use military force outside the country, formalizing the deployment of Russian troops to separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, state news agency TASS reported on Tuesday.
Deputy defence minister Nikolay Pankov told a session of the Upper House chamber: “Negotiations have stalled. The Ukrainian leadership has taken the path of violence and bloodshed.”
The number of troops, their area of operation, tasks and periods of stay outside Russia are to be determined by Putin, TASS reported.
This comes a day after he recognized their independence, in a move that further heightened international fears that Russia will invade Ukraine at any moment and provoked the US and the European Union to start implementing sanctions against Moscow.
European leaders said Russian troops began moving into eastern Ukraine and Washington labelled Moscow’s actions as an “invasion.”
“We think this is, yes, the beginning of an invasion, Russia’s latest invasion into Ukraine,” said Jon Finer, principal deputy national security adviser. He said “latest” was important. “An invasion is an invasion and that is what is under way.”
Currently, over 150,000 Russian troops have surrounded Ukraine from three sides.