“Russian invasion has begun” UK says troops entered eastern regions of Ukraine

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Russia: Military vehicles seen in Ukraine regions of Donetsk and the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic; Courtesy Photo

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has begun with tanks and troops sent into the east of the country overnight -the UK Government has declared.

Military vehicles were seen rolling into the breakaway regions of Donetsk and the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic following a fiery speech from Vladimir Putin -Mirror reported on Tuesday.

The Russian leader said Kyiv would be blamed for any “bloodshed” on the same day that two Ukrainian soldiers were killed by shelling from separatists in the east of the country.

Boris Johnson chaired a meeting of the Cobra committee this morning as the UK and US prepare to put more sanctions on Russia.

This morning Cabinet minister Sajid Javid said: “We are waking up to a very dark day in Europe and it’s clear from what we have already seen and found out today that the Russians, President Putin, has decided to attack the sovereignty of Ukraine and its territorial integrity.”

Volodymyr Zelenskyy believes there will be no full-scale invasion of Ukraine, he has told a news conference.

The Ukrainian leader appears to be at odds with western nations and many pundits, who have warned that Russia’s invasion of separatist states last night was just a primary move.

Earlier, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Russian president is “bent on full-scale invasion”.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine, has said the sanctions against Russia should include the complete shutting down of Nord Stream 2.

The gas pipeline runs under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany and is owned by Gazprom.

Whether or not Germany puts an end to the project has been am contentious issue throughout the bubbling conflict.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said on Monday that EU sanctions would target the pipeline.

“Certification (of the pipeline) would then be stopped (if Russia invaded). There is no question about that. That therefore means that Nord Stream 2 is part of the sanctions,” Nehammer told a news conference.

The pipeline has been built but is not yet operational as it is awaiting German and EU regulatory approval.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has questioned whether Ukraine had a right to sovereignty because he said the government in Kyiv did not represent the country’s constituent parts, the Interfax news agency reported.

“If we talk about the principle of sovereignty and territorial integrity, one of the key documents … is the

Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations among Peoples,” he was quoted as saying.

He accused Ukraine of being out of line with that since 2014 when a Moscow-backed president was overthrown in Kyiv and replaced by a pro-Western leader, prompting Russia to annex Ukraine’s peninsula of Crimea and back an insurgency in its eastern regions.

“I don’t think anyone can claim that the Ukrainian regime, since the 2014 coup d’etat, represents all the people living on the territory of the Ukrainian state,” Lavrov was quoted as saying.

Ukraine’s defence minister has said Putin is trying to revive the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

“The Kremlin took another step towards the revival of the Soviet Union,” Oleksii Reznikov wrote in a letter.

“With the new Warsaw Pact and the new Berlin Wall,” Reznikov wrote. “The only thing that separates from this is Ukraine and the Ukrainian army.”

“Our choice is very simple – to defend our country, our home, our relatives. Nothing has changed for us,” he went on.

Oil prices have begun to sharply increase following Putin’s announcement last night. Investors appear concerned that the conflict will disrupt supply chains across the world.

Sanctions due to be announced today may also impact how fuel is transported.

Futures of Brent crude, the international benchmark, reached a seven-year high of almost $98 (£72) on Tuesday.

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