Russian lawmakers on Tuesday authorised President Vladimir Putin to use military force outside the country — a move that could presage a broader attack on Ukraine after the US said an invasion was already underway there, reports AP.
Several European leaders said Russian troops rolled into rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine after Putin recognised their independence. But it was unclear how large the deployment was, and Ukraine and its Western allies have long said Russian troops were fighting in the region, allegations that Moscow always denied.
Members of Russia’s upper house, the Federation Council, voted unanimously to allow Putin to use military force outside the country — effectively formalising a Russian military deployment to the rebel regions, where an eight-year conflict has killed nearly 14,000 people.
Shortly after, Putin laid out three conditions to end the crisis that has threatened to plunge Europe back into war, raising the specter of massive casualties, energy shortages across the continent and economic chaos around the globe.
RUSSIA EVACUATING DIPLOMATS
Russia also made a decision to evacuate its diplomatic staff from Ukraine, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday, reports Reuters.
“Our first priority is to take care of Russian diplomats and employees of the Embassy and Consulates General. To protect their lives and safety, the Russian leadership decided to evacuate staff of Russian missions in Ukraine, which will be implemented in the very near future,” it said in a statement.