Russian President Vladimir Putin has recognised the eastern Ukraine's two breakaway regions, as the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics and ordered Russian troops enter them to maintain the peace, reports the ABC.
According to the media outlet, Putin ordered his Defence Ministry to dispatch Russian forces to "maintain peace" defying warnings from Europe and the US that such a move would be illegal and trigger severe sanctions against Russia.
The recognition has been widely condemned by Western leaders as a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and international law and has drawn US, UK and European vows of new sanctions.
"In his lengthy televised address, Mr Putin, looking visibly angry, described Ukraine as an integral part of Russia's history and said that the regions in eastern Ukraine were ancient Russian lands and that he was confident the Russian people would support his decision. "
Some key points made by Putin during his televised address:
- Putin has accused Ukraine of stealing Russian gas in the past, using energy to blackmail Russia.
- Putin denounced the rise of neo-Nazism in Ukraine.
- Ukraine has never had the tradition of a genuine state, he said.
- Ukrainian authorities are infected with the virus of nationalism and corruption, the Russian president said during his speech, adding that Ukraine had failed to achieve a stable state and therefore had to rely on foreign countries, such as the USA.
- According to him, Ukraine is ruled by foreign powers and this affects all levels of government.
- He stressed that the Russian language in Ukraine has been marginalized, while he complained that Kiev is preparing to "execute" the Russian Orthodox Church.
- Ukraine is a US colony with a "puppet" regime, complained Putin.
- In addition, Western intelligence services are helping Ukraine to commit crimes.
- "Ukraine plans to build its own nuclear weapons," Putin said. "If Ukraine acquires weapons of mass destruction, the overall situation will change dramatically. We can not ignore that."