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Russia to Evacuate Embassy Staff from Ukraine as Putin Signals War Is Coming

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.”
Photo: Alexei Nikolsky\TASS via Getty Images
Photo: Alexei NikolskyTASS via Getty Images

Russia’s foreign ministry announced it will evacuate its embassy staff from Ukraine as soon as possible, citing “repeated attacks” by Ukrainians since 2014.

The big picture: 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. [Read the latest updates.]

Why it matters: 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.

  • Ukraine currently controls about two-thirds of the territory claimed by the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (D/LPR), which declared independence in 2014 but were driven back by a military offensive.
  • The borders that D/LPR declared in 2014 include, for example, Mariupol — a key Ukrainian port and a city of around 430,000 people.

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