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Putin orders forces to 'maintain peace' in eastern Ukraine, worsens crisis

Russian leader's decision brings swift promises of new sanctions from the US and other Western nations.

Vladimir Putin, Ukraine, Russia
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Vladimir Putin listens to his defence minister during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Feb. 14, 2022. Moscow wants guarantees from the West that NATO won't allow Ukraine and other former Soviet countries to join as members. Photo: AP

AP | PTI
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered forces Monday to “maintain peace” in separatist regions of eastern Ukraine, hours after the Kremlin recognized the area’s independence. The announcement raised fears that an invasion was imminent, if not already underway.

The Kremlin decree, spelled out in an order signed by Putin, left unclear when, or even whether, troops would enter Ukraine. But it brought swift promises of new sanctions from the U.S. and other Western nations and underscored the steep challenges they face in staving off a military conflict they have portrayed as near-inevitable.

The Kremlin's announcement came just hours after Putin, in a rambling,

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First Published: Feb 22 2022 | 5:20 AM IST

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