One Ukrainian soldier died and at least six were wounded  in the Lugansk region as fears of a Russian invasion grow, AFP reported quoting a military spokesman. 

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“One soldier was killed” as a result of shelling from separatist-held areas in the Lugansk region, military spokesman Pavlo Kovalchuk told AFP.

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This comes as Russia’s upper house voted unanimously on Tuesday, allowing President Vladimir Putin to use army abroad. Moscow had on Monday deployed troops to seperatist areas in eastern Ukraine for ‘peacekeeping’. It now recognises as independent entities and also formed diplomatic ties with the rebel-led regions. 

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Putin’s move to recognize the territories’ independence opened the door for him to formalise his hold on them and send forces in, though Ukraine and its Western allies have charged Russian troops have been fighting there for years. Moscow denies those allegations. 

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Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden announced the U.S. was ordering heavy financial sanctions against Russian banks and oligarchs, declaring that Moscow had flagrantly violated international law in what he called the “beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

With inputs from the Associated Press