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Ukraine war

Putin orders troops to east Ukraine, recognizes breakaway regions

U.S. to block investment, trade with Luhansk and Donetsk

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers an address to the nation in Moscow on Feb. 21. (Kremlin via Reuters)

MOSCOW/WASHINGTON -- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday recognized Ukraine's pro-Russian breakaway regions as independent while ordering troops to be dispatched in what was called a peacekeeping mission.

The decision applies to the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, which are held by pro-Russian separatists and have declared themselves independent of Kyiv. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and other top officials urged Putin to recognize their independence at an unscheduled national security meeting that day.

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