Russian state media reported Wednesday that rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine have asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to provide military assistance to defend against Ukrainian “aggression,” as the Pentagon warned that Moscow’s forces “are ready” to attack.
The leaders of Donetsk and Luhansk, two Moscow-backed breakaway regions, appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin “to provide assistance in repulsing the aggression” from Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. The Ukrainian military warned earlier this week that Russian-backed mercenaries had been sent to the area to stage “provocations” as a possible pretext for an invasion.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said Russian forces have placed themselves “in an advanced stage of readiness” to move on Ukraine. Kirby told reporters at a press briefing that the Russians “are ready,” adding that “only Putin knows what the timing is.”
The Biden administration has begun describing Putin’s order to send troops into eastern Ukraine as “an invasion.”
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