Russian leader recognizes breakaway regions, Germany cancels Russian gas pipeline, Putin threatens war on Ukraine capital Kyiv

Washington and its allies called the Kremlin’s recognition of two separatist regions a blunt defiance of international law that risks war. A top E.U. official said Russian troops had entered eastern Ukraine, but stopped short of calling it an “invasion,” the New York Times reports.

A tough global response to moves by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia against Ukraine began to take shape on Tuesday as European nations prepared to impose sanctions and Germany halted a key gas pipeline, but the Russian leader remained defiant in the face of worldwide condemnations.

A day after Mr. Putin recognized two breakaway territories in eastern Ukraine as independent, two European officials said on Tuesday that Russia had sent troops into the area, but Russia’s Foreign Ministry denied having done so yet. Fearful Ukrainians boarded buses out of the separatist areas even as Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, urged his beleaguered nation to “keep a cool head” in the crisis.

“Ahead will be a difficult trial,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, said in a somber message released by the military. “There will be losses. You will have to go through pain and overcome fear and despondency.”

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