Putin orders Russian peacekeepers to eastern Ukraine’s two breakaway regions

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Russian President Vladimir Putin signs a decree recognising two Russian-backed breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent entities during a ceremony in Moscow

MOSCOW – President Vladimir Putin ordered his defence ministry to despatch Russian peacekeepers to eastern Ukraine’s two breakaway regions, according to a decree published early on Tuesday after he said Moscow would recognise their independence.

Putin earlier signed decrees to recognise the two breakaway regions — the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic — as independent statelets defying Western warnings that such a step would be illegal and kill off long-running peace negotiations.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Andrew Osborn)