Vladimir Putin accuses Kyiv of genocide as he sends ‘peacekeeping’ troops into breakaway Ukraine regions

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Vladimir Putin last night warned of “bloodshed” after he recognised the independence of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, raising fears of a full-on invasion.

The Russian president accused Kyiv of carrying out “genocide” in the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in a televised address to the nation, and deployed troops to “maintain peace” last night.

The US and its European allies are poised to announce harsh new sanctions against Russia today after the move.

The Ukrainian military said two soldiers were killed and 12 wounded in shelling by pro-Russian separatists in the east in the past 24 hours, the most casualties this year, as ceasefire violations increased.

Putin’s announcement on Monday drew international condemnation and immediate U.S. sanctions, with President Joe Biden signing an executive order to halt U.S. business activity in the breakaway regions.

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