The United States expects Russian troops to move into Ukraine’s separatist regions as soon as tonight or tomorrow, a senior official familiar with latest intelligence told CNN. This comes as the Russia President Vladimir Putin agreed to recognise these rebel areas as independent. 

The official added that the troops will enter Donbas in the name of a peacekeeping mission. 

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“Russian troops have continued to move closer to the border,” the official said, further adding that they see plans being laid for an invasion at any moment.

US representative from Virginia’s 11th congressional district, Gerry Connolly, said that ordering of Russian troops into two separatist pro-Moscow regions in eastern Ukraine is not a peacekeeping operation.

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“This is not a peacekeeping operation, and we need to stop enabling Putin with even the use of that word. These are units of the Russian military who are using the pretext of the independence of Russian-occupied sovereign territory of Ukraine to further that occupation and to expand it,” Connolly told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“Right now, Russia’s surrogates and Russian troops occupy about a third of Donetsk to Luhansk. What he proposes to do immediately is to extend that to the remaining two-thirds. That is an invasion by any sense of the imagination,” he added.

Also read: Russian President Vladimir Putin orders forces to ‘maintain peace’ in eastern Ukraine

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden condemned his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognize two breakaway regions of Ukraine. 

“Biden strongly condemned Russian President Putin’s decision to purportedly recognize the “independence” of the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine,” on a call with Ukraine President Volodymr Zelenskiy, the White House said.