Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Russia to evacuate embassy staff from Ukraine

Russia’s foreign ministry announced it will evacuate its embassy staff from Ukraine as soon as possible, citing “repeated attacks” by Ukrainians. (https://news.yahoo.com/putin-claims-ukraine-controlled-territory-173337985.html) The evacuation comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his clearest indication yet that Russian troops would launch an invasion further into Ukraine, saying the borders of the separatist “republics” he recognized on Monday extend to territory currently controlled by Ukrainian forces. Western officials fear that Putin’s recognition of the territories and deployment of “peacekeepers” is only the beginning, paving the way for a wider assault in eastern Ukraine and potentially the rest of the country. Putin said at a press conference on Tuesday that Russian forces may not immediately advance into the two “republics,” but that “it is impossible to predict the scenario that will unfold.” The upper house of Russia’s parliament granted Putin’s request on Tuesday to deploy military force outside of the country, authorizing action both in the contested Donbas region and potentially elsewhere in Ukraine.

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