EU official: ‘Russian troops are on Ukrainian soil’

A top European Union official said on Tuesday that Russian troops had entered breakaway territories in Ukraine.

“Russian troops have entered in Donbas. We consider Donbas part of Ukraine,” the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said, according to The Washington Post.

“I wouldn’t say that [it is] a fully fledged invasion, but Russian troops are on Ukrainian soil,” Borrell added. 

He later reportedly said that the EU plans to respond and will decide on sanctions against Moscow later Tuesday.

During a radio interview on Tuesday, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak also said that Russian troops had violated international law by entering Ukraine’s territories, the newspaper reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has labeled the move a “peacekeeping” effort, though the presence of Russian forces in Ukraine has been received by the international community as an escalation of the crisis.

In the past, the Kremlin has denied that it has placed troops in the breakaway territories, despite documentation from American, European and Ukrainian officials that have shown otherwise, the Post noted.

Putin on Monday recognized two breakaway territories in eastern Ukraine as independent, marking a sharp escalation in tensions.

Putin rejected diplomatic efforts to cease fighting and pledged more assistance to separatists battling Ukrainian forces in the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic.

Tags Russia-Ukraine conflict Vladimir Putin
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