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Putin Orders Forces to Breakaway Ukraine Areas in Escalation

  • U.S. imposes sanctions, warns more to come if invasion comes
  • Ukraine president urges calm as hopes for peace diminish
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Putin Signs Decrees Recognizing Separatist Regions
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President Vladimir Putin announced he’s recognizing two self-proclaimed separatist republics in eastern Ukraine, a dramatic escalation in Russia’s standoff with the West as the U.S. and its allies continue to warn it could soon invade its neighbor.

The decrees signed by Putin included an order to send what he called “peacekeeping forces” to the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Russia gave no details so far on how many troops might go in, or when, but Moscow has previously accused Ukraine of having a significant deployment of its own soldiers on the line of contact with the separatists.