“We think this is, yes, the beginning of an invasion, Russia’s latest invasion into Ukraine,” said Jon Finer, principal deputy national security adviser, said in an interview on CNN. “An invasion is an invasion and that is what is underway.”
Russian lawmakers gave President Vladimir Putin permission to use military force outside the country on Tuesday — a move that could presage a broader attack on Ukraine after the U.S. said an invasion was already underway there, AP reports.
Several European leaders said earlier in the day that Russian troops have moved into rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine after Putin recognized their independence. But it was unclear how large the movements were, and Ukraine and its Western allies have said Russian troops have been fighting in the region since the separatist conflict erupted in 2014. Moscow denies those allegations.
Members of the upper house, the Federation Council, voted unanimously to allow Putin to use military force outside Russia — effectively formalizing a Russian military deployment to the rebel regions, where an eight-year conflict has killed nearly 14,000 people.
The White House on Tuesday began referring to Russian troop deployments in eastern Ukraine as an “invasion” after initially hesitating to use the term — a red line that President Joe Biden has said would result in the U.S. levying severe sanctions against Moscow.
© Copyright LaPresse