TV pundit Vladimir Solovyev echoed those sentiments on his morning show on state Vesti.FM radio. “We will ensure their safety,” he declared. “It is now dangerous to fight with them … because one will now have to fight with the Russian army.”

As the West sounded the alarm about the Kremlin ordering troops into eastern Ukraine and decried it as an invasion, Russian state media painted a completely different picture — of Moscow coming to the rescue of war-torn areas tormented by Ukraine’s aggression and bringing them peace, AP reports.

The fanfare came hours after Vladimir Putin announced Russia’s recognition of the separatist areas in eastern Ukraine as independent states and ordered its troops to “maintain peace” in territory where Russia-backed rebels have been fighting Kyiv’s forces since 2014 — a conflict that has killed over 14,000 people.

TV presenters hailed the “historic” day and professed the end of suffering for the residents of the breakaway regions.

“You paid with your blood for these eight years of torment and anticipation,” anchor Olga Skabeyeva told residents of the areas known as Donbas during a popular political talk show Tuesday morning on Russia 1 state TV. “Russia will now be defending Donbas.”

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