Russian military convoys seen rolling into east Ukraine fuelling fears of imminent war – World News


Long convoys of Russian military vehicles including tanks have been filmed entering into separatist areas of eastern Ukraine further fuelling fears of a “major conflict”

Russian tanks can be seen rolling into eastern Ukraine after Vladimir Putin said he was deploying troops “to keep the peace” in the region and it has further fueled fears of “major conflict”.

Chilling footage shows tanks and military hardware heading into the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk and other pro-Russian areas after Putin issued a decree recognising the breakaway regions on Monday night.

And Al Jazeera and other outlets have also broadcast footage of a long stream of tanks entering into the separatist areas of Ukraine.

It is set to see the West hit back with sanctions while the UN’s political affairs chief Rosemary DiCarlo warned that the risk of a “major conflict” was real and that it needed to be prevented.

A senior US official said the deployment to breakaway enclaves already controlled by separatists loyal to Moscow did not yet constitute a “further invasion” that would trigger the harshest sanctions, but that a wider military campaign could come at any time.

There was no word on the size of the force Putin was dispatching, but the decree said Russia now had the right to build military bases in the breakaway regions.

In a lengthy televised address packed with grievances against the West, a visibly angry Putin described Ukraine as an integral part of Russia’s history and said eastern Ukraine was ancient Russian lands.

Russian state television showed Putin, joined by Russia-backed separatist leaders, signing a decree recognising the independence of the two Ukrainian breakaway regions – the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic – along with agreements on cooperation and friendship.

The Russian president’s recognition of the two breakaway regions as independent and his order to send in troops upped the ante with the West over Ukraine.

But a US official told Reuters that sending Russian troops into the separatist regions was not a departure from what Russia had done already, which was why it did not trigger the broader sanctions.

“This isn’t a further invasion since it’s territory that they’ve already occupied,” that official said.

The official said sending Russian troops into the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine was not new.

“Russian troops moving into Donbas would not itself be a new step. Russia has had forces in the Donbas region for the past eight years… They are currently now making decisions to do this in a more overt and … open way,” he said.

The United States will continue to pursue diplomatic talks until or unless an invasion occurs, he said.

He stated: “Russia continues to escalate this crisis that it created in the first place. We’ll continue to pursue diplomacy until the tanks roll, but we are under no illusions about what is likely to come next.”

Boris Johnson will chair a Cobra meeting on Tuesday morning to discuss the UK’s reaction to the Ukraine crisis and put in place “significant” sanctions for Russia, Downing Street has said.

The meeting, which is scheduled to take place at 6.30am, will be used to “coordinate the UK response”, including agreeing a “significant package of sanctions to be introduced immediately”, according to a No 10 spokesperson.

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