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President Vladimir Putin is ordering Russian forces to “maintain peace” in eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin has said.
The Russian leader has called on his defence ministry to dispatch “peacekeepers” to eastern Ukraine’s two breakaway regions, according to a decree published early on Tuesday.
It is not immediately clear whether or when troops would enter the country.
Earlier today he signed the decree recognising the independence of the two regions – Donetsk and Luhansk – as independent statelets.
The move has been widely condemned as illegal, with western fears it could destroy any long-running peace negotiations.
This evening Boris Johnson condemned the recognition as a breach of international law during a Downing Street press conference.
He said: “I gather just as I came into this press conference that Vladimir Putin has effectively announced that Russia is recognising the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.
“This is plainly in breach of international law. It’s a … flagrant violation of the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine.
“It is a repudiation of the Minsk process and the Minsk agreements, and I think it’s a very ill omen and a very dark sign.”
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